The disability charity Mencap is facing allegation

first_imgThe disability charity Mencap is facing allegations that staff at one of its care homes used an offensive nickname for a disabled resident, and repeatedly reused feeding syringes that should have been thrown away after just one day.A whistleblower, A*, has told how one resident was nicknamed “poison dwarf”, while staff refused to take another resident to watch his beloved football team – even though he had a season ticket – because of his incontinence.She has also described how the same staff member bullied one older resident and told him she wished he would “hurry up and move out”, and shouted at him in his bedroom.Another member of staff allegedly used offensive, threatening language to an older couple from Jehovah’s Witnesses who had been talking to one of the residents.The whistleblower has also alleged that one woman with high support needs – who is fed through a PEG feeding tube – suffered repeated infections after staff kept reusing syringes for a whole week when they were only supposed to be used for one day before being thrown out.Residents’ financial records were also more than three months out-of-date, the whistleblower has told the authorities.A, who herself is disabled, had previously worked happily at another Mencap home, but almost immediately became concerned after transferring to the new home, which supports adults with learning difficulties**.Although some of the staff were professional and caring, she said, others “were not bothered at all”, and the care overall was “atrocious, especially surrounding the peg feed”.A passed her concerns to Mencap, and to the local council’s safeguarding team, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the local police force. She has now resigned from her job.She said she felt unsupported by Mencap after she raised her concerns, including when she had to take time off sick due to anxiety.She said: “I’ve closed a door on Mencap and refuse to look back on them now but know that I am not the only one to be treated this way by them and I certainly won’t be the last.”In its last inspection, which took place in the last six months, before the whistleblower raised her concerns, CQC concluded that the care home provided a good level of service.A spokesman for the local authority said: “We’re continuing to investigate the concerns raised and we’ll work closely with the care home and the CQC to ensure that the needs of residents are being fully met.”A Mencap spokeswoman said: “Mencap immediately alerted safeguarding bodies to these allegations and were permitted to carry out an internal investigation.“We can confirm that these allegations were fully investigated and no concerns were found.“Mencap takes the welfare of the people we support very seriously and remain committed to working with external bodies to ensure we maintain the highest standards of care.”But she said the charity was also aware of claims that A had subjected several Mencap staff to “harassment” since making her allegations, some of which has been reported to the police.She said: “A number of Mencap staff have felt compelled to contact the police on grounds of harassment regarding the whistle-blower.“Whilst we take all allegations seriously and always investigate, we also have to be mindful of the impact that personal harassment might have on staff and take this into account in all incidents.”Asked about the harassment allegations, the council spokesman said: “We’re not in a position to comment on individual cases because of the sensitive information discussed, but we do support people to come forward and raise any concerns which they may have.”A police spokeswoman said the force had examined the allegations against staff at the home but concluded that no criminal offences had taken place.She said: “CQC and the council are investigating but there is no police investigation.”She was unable to confirm any active investigation relating to the home, including into any harassment allegations.A CQC spokesman said: “We have received allegations in relation to the care and treatment of people [at the home] and have referred them to the local council safeguarding team.“We will continue to monitor the situation and consider what future actions to take, which may include carrying out a return inspection.”*She has asked for her name not to be published**For legal reasons, DNS is not naming the home or its locationlast_img read more

A note from the editor Please consider making a v

first_imgA note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS… A UN expert has heard how a man with learning difficulties died a month after attempting to take his own life, following a move onto the government’s “chaotic” universal credit benefit system that left him hundreds of pounds in debt.An account of the tragedy, written by the man’s sister, Maggie, is just one of scores of pieces of written evidence submitted to an inquiry being carried out by Professor Philip Alston, the UN’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.He began a 12-day factfinding visit to the UK this week as part of his investigation into the government’s record on eradicating poverty.But even before he arrived, he had received a string of devastating accounts of the impact of the government’s austerity cuts and reforms on disabled people’s social security and social care.One of them came from Maggie, from London, who described what had happened to her brother, John, who had cerebral palsy and learning difficulties.Maggie told how John, who lived in sheltered housing, had previously been “a positive happy person” before he was found fit for work and forced onto universal credit and the government’s Work Programme.She said the job he had been found through the Work Programme had proved unsuitable and he fell back out of work, causing severe problems with his universal credit.Maggie told the inquiry: “He had been told by all the authorities such as the Job Centre and Housing not to worry about his benefits and then he was very shocked to receive bills of £1,000 and £500 [from DWP and the local authority’s housing department].”She said her brother had been one of the first to be placed on the “chaotic” universal credit benefit system, and that his rights as a disabled person “had not been considered by the DWP and other authorities”.She said John had been hospitalised after trying to take his own life. He died a month later, in April this year.She said: “John was a very law abiding person and did everything that DWP, etc, told him to do but was seriously let down by this department.“His benefits had been in chaos for several years but no one cared from the various departments that John and myself contacted.”She added: “John has been totally let down by this country and died in such tragic circumstances that could have been avoided if those charged with helping the vulnerable, the disabled, had thought about him as a human being – not as a nuisance and a statistic.”But John’s is only one of many cases submitted as evidence to Alston’s inquiry which show the impact of the government’s reforms – including the introduction of universal credit – on disabled people.Another benefit claimant, Steve, told the inquiry how delays in receiving his first universal credit payment two years ago had left him in debt, and saw him lose £61 a week in severe disability premium in the transfer to the new system.He was forced to ask his local council for food vouchers.Steve said the benefits system had become “very aggressive” since the government’s reforms to the social security system, which he said had left him feeling “like a scrounger”.He said: “There were suddenly demands to adhere to and a timetable of activities that was not possible to achieve and the DWP would not even talk about this but just threatened to take away the benefits.”The impact on his physical and mental health – he has a number of health conditions – had repeatedly left him “in crisis or at A&E or even being temporarily held at a police station”.He told the inquiry: “The stress is unbearable when added to coping with everyday health issues which on their own are enough to endure.“I had to sign up to commitments that I cannot fulfil and it seems obvious that this system is deliberately designed to make disabled claimants, especially those with mental health issues, fail or just give up pursuing their claim.”He is one of tens of thousands of disability living allowance (DLA) claimants who have lost their benefits in the move to personal independence payment (PIP) – he was awarded zero points by an assessor – and he had to wait for a tribunal to overturn the DWP decision and award him the enhanced PIP rate for both mobility and daily living he was entitled to.But he still faces neglect through the social care system, which has led to infections and a lack of mobility.He said: “The constant demands and worry of dealing with benefits means that there is no energy left to keep up with the demands of my personal healthcare.“It also puts a strain and a burden on my friends and family who have to step in and help sort out the mess caused by failing healthcare, social care and welfare reform especially as this has now been going on for so long.“I live in total insecurity and on a knife edge with worsening health where anything can happen and there are constant threats, harassment and abuse by the DWP and the present government.”David, from Plymouth, painted a similar picture and told the inquiry that the 2010 coalition government’s social security reforms had created a “hostile environment” for disabled people.He said there had been “an orchestrated campaign since then in the mainstream media, to deliberately disenfranchise, to alienate, to misalign, and this has achieved the desired result in changing the general public’s perception of the vulnerable, as ‘benefit scroungers’”.He said: “It is now not uncommon to see people with disabilities on the streets… all of this from the seventh richest economy on the planet. It is unconscionable, it is unforgivable.”David is now having to pay more than £200 a month from his disability benefits towards his social care, while he fears losing his Motability vehicle when he is eventually assessed for PIP.He said: “Though no longer able to work, the ability to drive remains one of my few remaining abilities, and enjoyments.“My own vehicle is at risk if my transition from DLA to PIP does not go well, I could be refused my legitimate benefits entirely, and become destitute, through no action, or fault of my own.“I am under a continual and unrelenting strain. It is already a matter of medical record that I am unable to sleep, my mental health is suffering, and I have come to view my individual longterm outlook as bleak.”He added: “I live in very real fear of a ring on my doorbell, or the daily arrival of the post. I dread the compulsory transition from DLA to PIP that I have yet to undergo. I dread going outside.”Efrosyni told the inquiry that she had been “driven to despair” by social care cuts, which meant she did not have enough support to visit her local high street.She said: “I have been housebound for four years and I don’t know how much longer I can survive like this.”She said the rollout of universal credit was “yet another indication of the contempt that the disadvantaged, sick and disabled people are held by the government”.Efrosyni said she had tried to speak to the government’s universal credit helpline but had to give up after “being on hold for 55 minutes several times”.She said: “Perhaps the government is trying to force us all to commit suicide and therefore ease the ‘burden’ that they consider us to be.“It is obvious that sick and disabled people are not deemed worthy of consideration and compassion by this government nor to have the right to lead fulfilling lives.“This attitude is also exhibited by many in local government, some staff of whom have told me that I should just be grateful that I get anything.“As a benefit claimant I am made to feel unworthy, patronised, marginalised and undermined.“I don’t want to be pitied, I want to be enabled with the appropriate resources to lead a fulfilling life and considered a valuable part of society.”Barbara, who is disabled, and lives with her husband, who has Parkinson’s and dementia, described in her written evidence to the inquiry how she had previously claimed higher rate DLA for both care and mobility but was refused PIP completely after a dishonest assessment report, even though she is in the employment and support allowance support group, for those found to have limited capability for work-related activity.Rather than wait for months for a tribunal, she was advised to submit a fresh claim, but now fears another dishonest PIP assessment.She and her husband rely on foodbanks and cannot afford to pay their bills.She told the inquiry: “My husband’s Parkinson’s and the dementia has got worse because of the stress of trying to manage with what little money we have.“We used to put change into a jar for the grandchildren but had to break it open to get money for milk and bread.”Another woman to give evidence about her struggle with extreme poverty said she believed the benefits system was responsible for her high blood pressure.She told the inquiry: “I often have to use foodbanks to eat, and I sit in the dark to save electric.“I have had one dress and one [pair] of knickers in the past three [years], as I can’t afford to buy new clothes.“You can print my story if you wish, and I would have killed myself by now, if it wasn’t for my children. I don’t smoke or drink either, and have no social life.”As well as individuals, many disabled people’s organisations, charities, academics and human rights bodies have submitted written evidence to the inquiry.Inclusion London focused on concerns about universal credit and said it was “extremely worried that the problems experienced by Deaf and disabled people will escalate” with its full rollout.It said: “Deaf and disabled people are going hungry, forced into using foodbanks, unable to pay for fuel and rent and pushed further into debt because of the universal credit system.“Inclusion London believes the universal credit system is not fit for purpose and should be stopped and scrapped before more Deaf and disabled people experience harm.” Inclusion Scotland said the UK’s benefits system “does not take into account the minimum support necessary to keep people from becoming destitute.“Worse it can withdraw support, through sanctions or mandatory reconsideration, ensuring that little or no income is left to meet basic needs leading to destitution and, in some cases, death.”And WinVisible, the disabled women’s organisation, told the inquiry: “Austerity policies have targeted sick and disabled people.“Relentless cuts and continual changes to provision have brought terrifying insecurity and fear for the future.“Destitution is commonplace. Sick and disabled people are commonly left destitute from having benefits stopped for various bureaucratic and inhumane reasons.“All benefit claimants, women especially, suffer from the focus on ‘back-to-work’ rather than support and recognition of caring work and responsibilities.”Before this week’s visit, Professor Alston said: “Poverty is intertwined with human rights standards that the United Kingdom has ratified, including the right to food, housing, and an adequate standard of living and [how] it affects access to civil and political rights.“The government has made significant changes to social protection in the past decade, and I will be looking closely at the impact that has had on people living in poverty and their realization of basic rights.”last_img read more

Prop S Supporters Hope SF Tourism Will Help End Family Homelessness

first_img Tags: election 2016 Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% Lena Johnson was curious to know how much it would cost to rent a “simple studio” in the Mission. So she called a real estate agent who was advertising an apartment on Valencia Street and learned that for that “simple place” a tenant was expected to pay $2500 per month. The utilities were extra. The rent was far above her budget, but what surprised her was his casual mention of a more affordable unit – a studio in Oakland for just $1900.The exchange was a reminder that San Francisco has become a place of the haves and have nots.What Johnson and her two children do have in the Mission is a room with two beds, three small night stands, and one bathroom that is shared with another family. “It’s better than nothing and better than the streets for sure,” said the 49-year-old mother, who lives at the St. Joseph’s Family Center on 899 Guerrero Street.Family homelessness is the somewhat invisible face of the homelessness problem in San Francisco, as parents “run the risk of losing their children to Child Protective Services,” said Martha Ryan, director of the Homeless Prenatal Program. Some families, like the Johnson family are relatively lucky to have found shelters, but others “live in cars or other places that are not safe. Especially not for children. Often they bounce from one place to the other.” Currently there are about 4,000 families, according to Ryan, who are seen by the several services in the city that deal with homelessness. Of these, about 60 percent don’t have a permanent living address.In the late 1980s when Ryan started working in the family homelessness relief she was “ helping 72 pregnant women. Since then the number of homeless families has only grown.”This is why, Ryan says, that she supports Proposition S, one of the 25 propositions on the ballot in San Francisco.If passed, the measure will take a portion of the hotel tax revenue – growing from 16 percent in the 2017-2018 fiscal year to 21 percent in 2020-2021 – and direct it to newly set up family homeless and arts programs in the city.Set up in 1961, the hotel tax revenue was initially meant to bolster the arts scene, which in turn would attract tourists whose presence would then co-fund the arts scene. “It’s needed to lure tourists here,” said then mayor George Christopher.Later, in the 1970s the building of low income housing was co-funded by the hotel tax. “But over the years it’s been taken away from us,” said Martha Ryan. “To a point where in 2013 it was totally disallowed.”Today the hotel tax revenue goes straight into the general fund. And the money that the city has reserved for homeless families mostly goes to shelters. “But these shelters are expensive and there’s not enough space.” Some 200 families are currently on the waiting list for the shelters.The diminished housing stock available to homeless families in San Francisco has made helping people more difficult for her organization. “A few years ago we were happy if we could help 350 to 400 people. Now we’re lucky if we can help 200 families.”Johnson is one of the unlucky ones. The mother of four – her 12-year-old twins are with her in the shelter, while her 14-year-old daughter lives with her grandmother and her oldest son of 28 lives on his own – has been living in the shelter since April. Before that, the family moved to different places after getting evicted from their home in Tulare, 45 miles south of Fresno, a year and a half ago. “I stopped paying rent on purpose because there were a number of issues with the apartment,” Jonson said.“There was carbon monoxide leaking from the stove, but the landlord refused to fix it. The house was also infested with mice. On an average day killed six mice. It just wasn’t safe for my children.”After Johnson was evicted, she first moved to a motel. “But that was just too expensive. All my money went to the motel. And I knew there were more resources for the homeless in San Francisco than where I was, so I decided to leave.”Johnson’s move was based on earlier experience of homeless care in San Francisco. Back in the early 2000s, when she found herself without a permanent address, it took her over a year to find housing for her family of five.But that was before the 2008-2009 financial crisis, the following recession and 2.0 tech boom. Since then “we’ve seen a huge influx of money,” Proposition S campaign manager Jasmine Conrad said. “And this happened so fast in San Francisco, that we were blindsided by the following displacement. Both the visible, but definitely the invisible.”“The techies might have exacerbated the issue, but I see it as a continuation of larger problem,” Ryan added later. Year after year “we see less in everything. Less in support. Less in food stamp assistance. And with the five-year lifetime limit on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families it makes helping people very difficult.”The housing crisis and defunding of assistance to needy families has created a situation in San Francisco where today in the unified school districts one in twenty-five children don’t have place to call home. “That’s one kid in every class. That’s unacceptable!”The complexity of the Johnson’s homeless situation demonstrates to Martha Ryan how difficult it can be for people to regain control over their lives once they’ve been put out on the street. “When one becomes homeless it’s very difficult to rise above it,” she said. “People say that ‘homeless people need to pull themselves up from bootstrap,’ but what they don’t know is that often these people don’t even have boots.”The increased funding that would come available if the proposition is passed will, according to Ryan, go to measures to prevent families slipping into homelessness or give additional support once they’ve found themselves on the street. “Homelessness is much more than housing,” she said. “It will help people become self-sufficient, give them training or help them with getting medication if they’re sick.”Apart from Martha Ryan’s Homeless Prenatal Program, 72 arts organizations and homeless services, including the San Francisco Ballet, the Coalition on Homelessness and the San Francisco Symphony are part of the coalition that brought the proposition to the ballot.If the proposition is passed, the arts in San Francisco, according to Ryan, will receive the lion-share of the $103 million of funding available from the 2020-2021 fiscal year onwards, while 6.3 percent or about $6.5 million, will go to the family homelessness cause.“It won’t be enough to build new houses, but it will be enough to help families and move forward, advance in life and break the cycle.” center_img 0%last_img read more

SAINTS have named their 19man Squad for the Engag

first_imgSAINTS have named their 19-man Squad for the Engage Super League trip to Wigan Warriors on Friday.With a number of first team squad players out through injury, Royce Simmons has handed a call up to forward Scott Hale, whilst Matty Ashurst and Andrew Dixon are also included.The squad is:1. Paul Wellens, 2. Ade Gardner, 3. Michael Shenton, 4. Sia Soliola, 5. Francis Meli, 9. James Roby, 10. James Graham, 11. Tony Puletua, 12. Jon Wilkin, 14. Scott Moore, 15. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 17. Gary Wheeler, 18. Matty Ashurst, 19. Andrew Dixon, 20. Jonny Lomax, 21. Shaun Magennis, 22. Jamie Foster, 28. Tommy Makinson, 29. Scott Hale.Wigan’s Head Coach, Michael Maguire, will choose from:1. Sam Tomkins, 2. Darrell Goulding, 4. George Carmont, 5. Pat Richards, 6. Paul Deacon, 7. Thomas Leuluai, 9. Michael McIlorum, 10. Andy Coley, 11. Harrison Hansen, 12. Joel Tomkins, 13. Sean O’Loughlin, 14. Paul Prescott, 15. Jeff Lima, 16. Ryan Hoffman, 17. Brett Finch, 21. Lee Mossop, 22. Liam Farrell, 23. Chris Tuson, 25. Josh Charnley.The match kicks off at 2.45pm and the referee is Richard Silverwood.If you can’t make the match, it will be covered extensively in the new look Match Centre as well as on Saints’ Official Twitter and  Official Facebook sites.You can also listen by tuning in to Wish FM on 102.4 FM, DAB or by clicking here.last_img read more

SAINTS have announced their squad for their Tetley

first_imgSAINTS have announced their squad for their Tetley’s Challenge Cup Round Five match with Leeds Rhinos.Luke Walsh, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Kyle Amor and Jonny Lomax return to the squad alongside Mark Percival, Jordan Turner, Greg Richards and Adam Swift.Nathan Brown will choose from:1. Jonny Lomax, 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Jordan Turner, 4. Josh Jones, 5. Adam Swift, 6. Lance Hohaia, 7. Luke Walsh, 8. Mose Masoe, 9. James Roby, 10. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 11. Sia Soliola, 12. Jon Wilkin, 16. Kyle Amor, 17. Paul Wellens, 18. Alex Walmsley, 22. Mark Percival, 23. Joe Greenwood, 27. Greg Richards, 28. Luke Thompson.Brian McDermott will choose his Leeds side from:1. Zak Hardaker, 2. Ben Jones-Bishop, 3. Kallum Watkins, 4. Joel Moon, 5. Ryan Hall, 6. Danny McGuire, 7. Rob Burrow, 8. Kylie Leuluai, 10. Jamie Peacock, 12. Carl Ablett, 13. Kevin Sinfield, 15. Brett Delaney, 16. Ryan Bailey, 17. Ian Kirke, 18. Chris Clarkson, 19. Mitch Achurch, 20. Tom Briscoe, 21. Liam Sutcliffe, 23. Brad Singleton.The game kicks off at 2.30pm and the referee will be Richard Silverwood.Tickets for the match remain on sale from the Ticket Office at Langtree Park, online and by calling 01744 455052.last_img read more

IT was a real family affair at the Trafford Centre

first_imgIT was a real family affair at the Trafford Centre this weekend as Kyle Amor and his daughter got the chance deliver a fantastic gift.On a day which saw more than 200,000 people pack the shopping destination a giant action man Super League toy box was unwrapped in front of thousands of onlookers.And Kyle’s daughter Lila, 5, pressed the ‘try me’ button to activate the players.They then emerged from the box to huge cheers as they signed autographs and posed for photographs with fans, many of whom were presented with souvenir #RLNewEra Super League Grand Final scarves.Watch a video of the event here.last_img read more

You can enjoy festive entertaiment face painting

first_imgYou can enjoy festive entertaiment, face painting, games, a snack box and gift, as well as some special guests, all at the home of your favourite Saints.Prices are £10 for Juniors and £2 for adults and if you want to book, all you need to do bring your 2019 Membership Card to the Ticket Office or call 01744 455052.Places are strictly limited and sold on a first come, first served basis.An adult must also attend with the 2019 Junior Member with a maximum of two adults per Junior Member.Juniors must have renewed or purchased their Membership for 2019 to book their place.last_img read more

France tells Iran to return to compliance in nuclear deal – foreign

first_img <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> FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron looks on during a joint statement with French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, International Organization for Migration Director-General Antonio Vitorino, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe WojazerFILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron looks on during a joint statement with French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, International Organization for Migration Director-General Antonio Vitorino, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer France’s foreign ministry told a senior Iranian envoy on a visit to Paris on Tuesday that Tehran had to return to compliance to the nuclear deal and take the necessary steps to ensure the de-escalation of tensions in the Gulf.Iran’s deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi met President Emmanuel Macron in Paris. Macron has tried, but struggled, to initiate a mediation between Tehran and Washington over tensions in the region.“(This meeting) served to remind the Iranian president’s envoy that we expect Iran to return quickly in accordance with its commitments under the Vienna Agreement and to take the necessary steps to engage in an essential de-escalation,” the French foreign ministry said in a statement.Araghchi was the chief Iranian negotiator for the 2015 nuclear pact under which Iran agreed to curtail its atomic programme in return for relief from economic sanctions.WhatsApp SharePrintlast_img read more

Google Launches Wedding Planning Portal

first_imgAdvertisement Google has also partnered with wedding planner Michelle Rago to provide tips and guidance on which designs to use. This isn’t Google’s first move in the wedding planning world, the search giant also began offering customized wedding templates in Google Docs a year ago that let users access pre-made documents to track your wedding budget, collect addresses for invitations, compare vendors and much more. I know it’s a little bit odd for Google to get into the wedding planning space but it will no doubt boost the Google Apps products appeal to twenty or thirty something brides. Being that I actually planned parts of my wedding via Google Docs, I think that these templates will be incredibly useful, especially when it comes to sharing documents with others. – Advertisement –  Credit: TechCrunchlast_img read more

Twitter lands major new funding deal

first_imgAdvertisement  That would let the company raise around $400 million in new funding, according to venture capital data provider VC Experts, which obtained a copy of the amended incorporation forms.But the actual amount Twitter raised from investors could be higher, if it follows the latest tech trend of letting existing shareholders — such as employees and early investors — sell some of their shares to investors during a company financing round. Facebook, Groupon and Zynga — which are also backed by DST Global — all went that route in their later investment rounds. – Advertisement – “Twitter is one of the few companies that has truly changed the world,” DST Global founder Yuri Milner told AllThingsD, which reported that the new round values Twitter at $8 billion. “Twitter’s astonishing growth is a testament to how important it is becoming to more people every day, and why we couldn’t pass up the chance to be a bigger part of its future.”Twitter, based in San Francisco, said it will use the additional funding to hire more employees, grow internationally and “aggressively innovate.”Founded in 2006, Twitter has expanded rapidly in the past year, increasing its staff from 250 to more than 500 employees. On Monday the company opened its second office, launching a New York City outpost.Prior to its latest funding round, Twitter had already raised more than $350 million from investors — but the company is widely believed to be unprofitable. Its most recent financing round was in December, when it raised an estimated $200 million from a group led by Kleiner Perkins.Since then, the fast-growing company has made a number of management changes. Co-founders Ev Williams and Biz Stone stepped away from the daily operations of Twitter to focus on a new venture, while previously exiled co-founder Jack Dorsey returned to lead Twitter’s product strategy. Twitter also acquired a string of companies developing around its platform as part of its expansion effort.Source:  CNN Newslast_img read more

Samsung Galaxy S3 Beats Apple IPhone To Smartphone of The Year Award

first_imgAdvertisement Samsung  pickied up the Smartphone of year award at the 2013 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona beating off the challenge of Apple and its iPhone, HTC Droid DNA, Nokia Lumia 920, and Samsung Galaxy Note II. It was one of four major awards for Samsung, compared with none for Apple.The S2 beat the iPhone 4s at last year’s show.Samsung was device manufacturer of the year and Apple won the tablet category.In the 2013 entry level/feature phone category Nokia’s Asha won out over three other Nokia phones and the Samsung C3312. Google’s Nexus 7 won the tablet race. – Advertisement – But it is the best smartphone award that carries most kudos. Samsung not only won that. They won best device manufacturer and best Best Mobile Enabled Consumer Electronics Device for the Galaxy camera, and Best Mobile Infrastructure for Smart LTE Networks (they also won the CTO Choice award for their LTE technology).This rounds off a year in which Samsung has had to defend its reputation against copycat charges in the American courts. And it shows that outside of north America Samsung enjoys widespread admiration among its peers. It remains to be seen, however, whether the run will continue for Samsung with the S4, which seems to be hitting snags.Below is the full list of the winners.Best Mobile Health Product or Service  MIPsoft for BlindSquareBest Mobile Education or Learning Product or Service  Mobilink for SMS Based Literacy programBest Mobile Product or Service for Automotive  BMW i, MINI, Sixt and Vodafone Group for DriveNow Premium Car SharingBest NFC /Mobile Money Product or Service  Etisalat for Flous – The Etisalat Commerce ProgrammeBest Mobile Publishing Product or Service  Ver Se Innovation for NewsHuntBest Mobile Innovation for ‘Smart Cities’  Streetline for ParkerBest Mobile Enabled Consumer Electronics Device  Samsung Electronics for Samsung GALAXY CameraBest Enterprise Mobile Service  Mobilelron for Version 5 Complete Enterprise PersonaBest Consumer Mobile Service  Comviva for Mahindra Comviva’s mobiquity™ MFS platform powering mTicketing service for Bangladesh RailwaysBest Advertising or Marketing on Mobile  McCann Worldgroup (Hong Kong) for Chok! Chok! Chok!Best Network Product or Solution for Serving Customers  NTT DOCOMO for Hanashite Hon’yaku, world’s first automatic voice translation serviceBest Product, Initiative or Service in Emerging Markets  Ericsson for Amazon Connection– a digital inclusion program in the AmazonGSMA mWomen Best Mobile Product or Service for Women in Emerging Markets  Asiacell for Almas LineBest Use of Mobile in Emergency or Humanitarian Situations  Vodafone Foundation for Vodafone Instant NetworkThe Green Mobile Award  Indus Towers for Green Sites ProjectBest Mobile App for Consumers  FacebookBest Mobile App for Enterprise  EvernoteJudges Choice – Best Overall Mobile App  WazeMost Innovative Mobile App  McCann Worldgroup (Hong Kong) for Chok! Chok! Chok!Smartphone Application Challenge  AT&T for Application Resource Optimizer (ARO)Best Application using Network APIs  Bharti Airtel Limited for my airtel appBest Smartphone  Samsung Galaxy S3Best Feature phone or entry level phone  Nokia Asha 305Device Manufacturer of the Year  SamsungBest Mobile Tablet  Google and Asus for Nexus 7Best Mobile Infrastructure  Samsung Electronics for Smart LTE NetworksBest Mobile Technology Breakthrough  Accuris Networks for AccuROAM Wi-Fi: Making Wi-Fi a carrier driven extension of GSM for Offload and RoamingBest Cloud Based Technology for Mobile  Jasper Wireless cloud-based connected devices platform for machine-to-machine (M2M) and consumer electronicsBest Mobile Safeguard & Security Products and Services  AdaptiveMobile and Syniverse for Messaging TrustOutstanding LTE Contribution  SK Telecom for 4G LTE with PETA SolutionOutstanding Overall Mobile Technology – The CTO’s choice  Samsung Electronics for Smart LTE NetworksSpectrum for Mobile Broadband Award  Government of New ZealandMobile for Development Award  U.S. Agency for International Developmentm-Government Award  Government of Moldova Additional reporting from Forbes and Global Mobile Awardslast_img read more

You can now add a Star Wars lightsaber to your Facebook profile

first_imgAdvertisement Show you’re down with The Force this week then hide your Jedi ways with Facebook’s new Star Wars temporary profile pictures.Just in time for the release of The Force Awakens, click here then hit the Try It button and Facebook will let you add a scary red Dark Side cross-guard lightsaber or a benevolent blue over one of your photos. Then you can make it your profile pic and set an expiration date for when you want to go back to your normal profile from this galaxy.[relate-posts]You can also find the option in the Star Wars Facebook Page’s timeline. – Advertisement – The temporary profile pic feature is the same one Facebook used to let people celebrate Pride, rep their college football squad, and root for other sports teams. Facebook seems to like the idea of Snapchat’s branded selfie lenses.Is this shameless way for Facebook to cash in on all the Star Wars buzz? Absolutely. But it’s still fun. And at least since they’re temporary, you won’t have friends stuck as Sith Lords.[Tech crunch]last_img read more

BRCK Announces Acquisition of Kenyan ISP Surf

first_imgBRCK operating in Kenya and Rwanda — is a network of free public internet access points that allows anyone to get online | Image Courtesy : File Photo Advertisement Integrated hardware and software company BRCK has announced its latest acquisition of local ISP Surf, who is the second-largest public WiFi provider in Kenya providing low-cost internet services to up 20 towns in Kenya.BRCK currently operating in Kenya and Rwanda is a network of free public internet access points that allows anyone to get onlineErik Hersman, BRCK CEO, said the acquisition fits with the company’s plans to expand its services in Kenya to those who do not have access to the internet. – Advertisement – Surf launched in Kenya in 2016 and has been providing internet to low-income communities through public hotspots. Surf partnered with Facebook and Internet Solutions in 2017 to launch the Express Wi-Fi service, a public Wi-Fi hotspot service in Kenya in 2017.With this acquisition, the number of public hotspots for the company now stands at 2,000 across Kenya, with a reported 500,000 users a month. The combined Wi-Fi access points for BRCK will increase from the current 1,500 nodes to 2,700 nodes, making it one of the biggest public Wi-Fi zones in Sub- Saharan Africa.“This marks an important moment in BRCK’s journey towards meeting Africa’s unique needs and expanding on the continent’s connectivity infrastructure. BRCK believes that the acquisition will go a long way towards supporting Africa’s technological evolution,” Hersman says. [related-posts]last_img read more

STARTERS ORDERS Wednesday

first_imgWhat’s your view?CALL STAR SPORTS ON 08000 521 321 [dropcap]W[/dropcap]elcome to Starters Orders. Our daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Wednesday 13 AprilRACING2.35 BeverleyJollydee 7/2 > 5/22.45 NewmarketTomily 9/2 > 3/13.35 CheltenhamArt Mauresque 13/2 > 4/13.45 BeverleyGalesburg 7/1 > 4/1LIVE FOOTBALLFA Cup Quarter-Final Replay19:00 BBC One / BBC One HD6/4 West Ham 15/8 Man Utd 9/4 DRAWUEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg19:45 BT Sport 2 / BT Sport 2 HD6/1 Benfica 1/2 Bayern Munich 100/30 DRAWUEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg19:45 BT Sport Europe / BT Sport Europe HD21/10 Atletico Madrid 13/10 Barcelona 9/4 DRAW(All prices subject to fluctuation)last_img read more

STARTERS ORDERS Monday

first_img[dropcap]W[/dropcap]elcome to Starters Orders. Our daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Monday 25 September HORSE RACING2.50 RoscommonSolo Saxophone 7/2 > 15/83.30 KemptonTeppal 2/1 > 11/8LIVE FOOTBALLPremier League20:00 Sky Sports Premier League / Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Ultra HD3/10 Arsenal 17/2 West Brom 9/2 DRAWLa Liga20:00 Sky Sports Football5/6 Real Betis 7/2 Levante 5/2 DRAWBET WITH STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321last_img read more

American Indian political activist to discuss treatment of Americans by government

first_imgAddThis About admin ShareCONTACT: EllenChangPHONE: (713) 348-6777EMAIL: ellenc@rice.eduAMERICAN INDIANPOLITICAL ACTIVIST TO DISCUSS TREATMENT OF AMERICANS BYGOVERNMENTApril 20th Lecture to Focus on Ills of AmericanSocietyPolitical activistRussell Means will discuss how Americans are being taken advantage by the U.S.government through its political, economic and educational policies in a lectureat Rice University April 20.Means, an actor andproducer, will lecture about “How America Has Become One Huge IndianReservation” at 4 p.m. in the Kyle Morrow Room of Fondren Library.“It’s to make Americansunderstand that they are not living in a democracy — that they are a colonizedpeople, no different than those in Chile, Guatemala or anywhere else wherepeople are taken advantage of by the government,” he said of his upcomingspeech.He will also recount thecontributions American Indians have made to the United States and give a currentperspective of the treatment of the American government toward its people.In 1970, Means becamethe first national director of the American Indian Movement and during the nextthree years led protests and takeovers at Mount Rushmore, Plymouth Rock andWounded Knee.A self-proclaimedvisionary, he has devoted the past three decades to acting, singing, paintingand writing about the plight of American Indians. He lives in Santa Fe, N.M.,and on his reservation in Porcupine, S.D. To attend the freelecture, take Entrance 2 off Main Street. Parking is available in the CohenHouse visitors lot. last_img read more

Opponents of needleexchange programs should think about the message theyre sending to

first_imgAddThis ShareCONTACT: B.J. Almond PHONE: (713) 348-6770E-MAIL: balmond@rice.edu Opponents of needle-exchange programs should think about the message they’re sending to drug users Research paper at Rice University’s Baker Institute notes need for good public policy Many opponents of needle-exchange programs argue that supplying drug users with clean needles sends the wrong message. But a researcher at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy advises that they should be concerned about the message they’re actually sending. Despite the overwhelming evidence that needle-exchange programs (NEPs) can help reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis, many legislators refuse to support such efforts and instead write off death and illness as ”just deserts” for illegal behavior, said William Martin, senior fellow in religion and public policy at the Baker Institute. In a research paper posted this month on the Baker Institute Web site, Martin paraphrases the message these opponents are really conveying to injecting drug users (IDUs): ”We know a way to dramatically cut your chances of contracting a deadly disease, then spreading it to others, including your unborn children. It would also dramatically cut the amount of money society is going to have to spend on you and those you infect. But because we believe what you are doing is illegal, immoral and sinful, we are not going to do what we know works. You are social lepers and, as upright, moral, sincerely religious people, we prefer that you and others in your social orbit die.” Martin cites a number of alarming statistics to show the size of the drug problem. The number of IDUs is estimated to be between 1 million and 1.4 million. By mid-2000, 36 percent (270,721) of AIDS cases in the United States had occurred among IDUs, their sexual partners and their children, and these three categories of people accounted for half of all new HIV infections in the nation. In fact, 57 percent of children born with AIDS in the United States are the offspring of IDUs or their sexual partners. IDUs also risk exposure to various forms of hepatitis. Between 50 and 80 percent of IDUs contract hepatitis C – the most dangerous strain — within their first year of needle use. Martin also translates the problem into dollars. A 2005 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the lifetime treatment cost for a person with HIV is $155,000. With 40,000 people being infected with HIV each year, lifetime treatment for those infected in just the past five years is projected to cost $31 billion. ”The CDC estimates that only 1,300 cases would need to be averted annually to make a full-scale program of syringe exchange and disposal for IDUs economically effective,” Martin said. Other countries, particularly the Netherlands and Australia, have demonstrated that supplying drug addicts with clean needles in exchange for their used ones is an effective means of reducing the incidence of blood-borne diseases. Addicts receive a clean needle for every used one they turn in; this limits careless and dangerous disposal of contaminated needles. A 2002 report from Australia estimates that over the decade of the 1990s, Australia’s NEP helped avoid 25,000 cases of HIV and 21,000 cases of hepatitis C. In U.S. dollars, Australia’s investment of more than $71.8 million for the NEP resulted in a savings of between $1.3 billion and $4.1 billion. Martin noted that the contrast between Australia and the United States is ”particularly striking,” as evidenced by a presentation that physician Alex Wodak made during a 2002 Baker Institute conference on ”Moving Beyond the War on Drugs.” Wodak, who helped persuade the Australian government to support NEPs, reported that in 2000, the rate of 14.7 new AIDS cases for every 100,000 Americans was dramatically higher than the rate of 1.1 new AIDS case for every 100,000 Australians. During the 1990s, a small number of U.S. cities experimented with NEPs. The most carefully studied program was in New Haven, Conn., where researchers estimated that the HIV and hepatitis B transmission rates dropped by approximately one-third during the first two years of the program. Government-funded studies of NEPs and reports from such respectable organizations as the National Academy of Science, the American Medical Association, the National Institutes of Health and the CDC have endorsed access to clean needles as an effective measure for reducing the incidence of blood-borne diseases and increasing access to treatment for drug users, Martin said. ”In addition, they have persuasively documented that access to sterile needles neither encourages people to start injecting drugs nor increases drug use by those who are already users.” Yet policy makers at the federal, state and local levels have resisted providing IDUs with easier access to clean needles from physicians, pharmacies, the police or other readily available sources. In 1997 Congress enacted Public Law 105-78, which prohibits federal funding of any program that distributes sterile needles for the injection of illegal drugs. Consequently, only 120 NEPs current operate in the United States, with funding from state or city governments, private foundations and/or individuals. Martin noted in his research paper that Houston – the fourth largest city in the nation – has nearly 20,000 known cases of AIDS but no NEP. Dallas has a program run by four volunteers who reportedly distribute 250,000 needles a year from a pickup truck mainly in African-American neighborhoods. ”Limited as it is, this effort surely plays some role in an AIDS rate 57 percent lower than that of Houston’s,” Martin said. Although NEPS are consistently rejected by politicians and platforms of both major political parties, Martin said some lawmakers are starting to consider changes in policy as they learn more about studies confirming that NEPs can save lives and money without increasing drug abuse. Last year, for example, California became another state that allows pharmacy sales of up to 10 sterile syringes without a prescription, and the Texas legislature is currently considering a bill that will permit the operation of NEPs. ”No responsible person wants to encourage drug abuse,” Martin said. ”No fiscally prudent person wants to waste money simply to satisfy a sense of righteous indignation. No compassionate person wants to consign people unnecessarily to death or a living hell. Fortunately, providing IDUs with access to sterile syringes allows us to be responsible, prudent and compassionate – admirable criteria for good public policy.” Martin is the Harry and Hazel Chavanne Professor of Religion and Public Policy and professor of sociology at Rice University. The full text of his research paper is available at www.bakerinstitute.org . # # # last_img read more

Nanomedicine ending hit and miss design

first_imgShareCONTACT: Jade BoydPHONE: 713-348-6778E-MAIL: jadeboyd@rice.eduNanomedicine: ending ‘hit and miss’ designRice, TMC team wins stimulus funds for nanoparticle standardizationOne of the promises of nanomedicine is the design of tiny particles that can home in on diseased cells and get inside them. Nanoparticles can carry drugs into cells and tag cells for MRI and other diagnostic tests; and they may eventually even enter a cell’s nucleus to repair damaged genes. Unfortunately, designing them involves as much luck as engineering.“Everything in nanomedicine right now is hit-and-miss as far as the biological fate of nanoparticles,” said Rice University bioengineering researcher Jennifer West. “There’s no systematic understanding of how to design a particle to accomplish a certain goal in terms of where it goes in a cell or if it even goes into a cell.”West’s lab and 11 others in the Texas Medical Center — including three at Rice’s BioScience Research Collaborative — are hoping to change that, thanks to a $3 million Grand Opportunity (GO) grant from the National Institutes of Health. NIH established the GO grant program with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).One problem facing scientists today is that nanoparticles come in many shapes and sizes and can be made of very different materials. Some nanoparticles are spherical. Others are long and thin. Some are made of biodegradable plastic and others of gold, carbon or semiconducting metals. And sometimes size — rather than shape or material — is all-important.West demonstrates this using a video on her computer that was created by Rice GO grant investigator Junghae Suh. The movie was created by snapping an image with a microscope every few seconds. In the video, dozens of particles move about inside a cell. Half of the particles are tagged with a red fluorescent dye and move very slowly. The rest are green and zip from place to place.“These are made of the same material and have the same chemistry,” said West, Rice’s Isabel C. Cameron Professor and department chair of Bioengineering. “They are just different sizes. Yet you can see the profound differences in how they are moving in the cell. As we start to explore out further in the range of sizes and in altering the chemistry of the particles, we think we’re likely to see even bigger impacts on where things go inside the cell.”The job of determining whether that’s the case falls to Suh, assistant professor in bioengineering at Rice. Unlike other studies in the field, which rely on snapshots of dead cells, Suh’s method lets researchers track single particles in living cells. Her lab will use the method in side-by-side comparisons of particles provided by the other 11 laboratories in the study.In all, eight classes of nanoparticles will be studied. These include long, thin tubes of pure carbon called fullerenes, tiny specks of semiconductors called quantum dots, pure gold rods and spheres, as well as nanoshells — nanoparticles invented at Rice that consist of a glass core covered by a thin gold shell. In addition, Suh’s lab will examine organic particles made of polyethylene glycol and of chitosan.“We will use a method called single-particle tracking to capture the dynamics of nanoparticle movement in live cells,” Suh said. “Using confocal microscopy, we first create movies of the particles as they transit the cells. Then, we use image-processing software to extract information about how fast they move, what regions they’re attracted to, etc. By comparing the movement and fate of the various nanoparticles designed by the multiple research laboratories, we hope to identify correlations between a nanoparticle’s physicochemical properties and their intracellular behavior.”At the end of the two-year study, the team hopes to have a database that charts the expected response of particles of a given size, type and chemistry. Ultimately, the hope is to provide researchers with a tool that will help predict how a particular particle is likely to behave. That, in turn, could help researchers speed the development of new treatments for disease.“We want to understand where the particles go inside the cell, what organelles they associate with, whether or not they associate with any of the cytoskeletal structures and how they move inside the cell,” Suh said. “For different applications, you’re going to want your particles going to different places. We need to know where they go and how they behave so we can design the right particle for a particular job.”“We are thrilled to get the opportunity to really join forces to study this,” Suh said. “It’s just the sort of problem that requires the kind of support NIH is providing with ARRA funding. It’s a problem that really requires a multidisciplinary, interinstitutional approach.”The project’s other principal investigators include Rebekah Drezek and Lon Wilson, both of Rice; Mauro Ferrari, Paolo Decuzzi, David Gorenstein, Jim Klostergaard, Chun Li, Gabriel Lopez-Berestein and Anil Sood, all of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston; and Wah Chiu of Baylor College of Medicine.GO grant funding is provided by the NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences. NIH established the GO grant program to support projects that address large, specific research endeavors that are likely to deliver near-term growth and investment in biomedical research and development, public health and health care delivery. FacebookTwitterPrintEmailAddThislast_img read more

Scholar to discuss Being Young and Arab in America at Nov 10

first_imgAddThis ShareFranz Brotzen713-348-6775franz.brotzen@rice.eduBrooklyn College professor Moustafa Bayoumi will speak on “How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America a Decade After 9/11” today in the Farnsworth Pavilion at the Ley Student Center on the Rice University campus.Who: Moustafa Bayoumi, professor of English at Brooklyn College, City University of New York.What: Lecture on “How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America a Decade After 9/11.”When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10.Where: Ley Student Center’s Farnsworth Pavilion on the Rice campus, 6100 Main St.The lecture is free and open to the public.Bayoumi is the co-editor of “The Edward Said Reader” and editor of “Midnight on the Mavi Marmara: The Attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and How It Changed the Course of the Israeli/Palestine Conflict.” He has a Ph.D. from Columbia University.“How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America a Decade After 9/11″ traces the experiences of seven young Arab-Americans navigating life in a post–Sept. 11 environment. It was selected for a 2008 American Book Award.The event is sponsored by Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, the Rice History Department and the Arab American Educational Foundation Lecture Fund.For more information, contact Ussama Makdisi at 713-348-2561 or Makdisi@rice.edu.last_img read more