The Green party have included five key pledges aro

first_imgThe Green party have included five key pledges around disability benefits and social care in their manifesto as well as suggesting sweeping long-term plans to reform the welfare state.The party’s manifesto promises to retain the Independent Living Fund – which is due to close at the end of June – increase spending on disability living allowance and personal independence payment (PIP) by about £1 billion a year, and abolish the “bedroom tax”.The manifesto also says that a Green government would increase social care spending by £500 million a year – to provide free social care for working-age adults with a “proven care need” – while it would also offer free social care, funded by taxation, to the over-65s.Together with the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, Labour and UKIP, the Greens want to integrate the NHS and the social care system.They would also scrap the much-criticised work capability assessment, which tests eligibility for out-of-work disability benefits, returning to the system of “relying on the judgement of GPs or other health professionals”.They would also scrap the use of private sector contractors to assess disabled people for PIP.In the long-term, after 2020, the party wants to abolish all social security except disability benefits and housing benefit, scrap the income tax personal allowance, and introduce instead a “guaranteed, non-means-tested income, sufficient to cover basic needs” to be paid to every man, woman and child legally resident in the UK.In the next parliament, the Greens would review the use of benefit sanctions and the government’s benefit caps, and “consider” offering more personalised job-seeking support to people with mental health problems.A key policy that helps the Greens stand out from other major parties is a pledge to introduce a right for every disabled child to a mainstream school, confirming its position as the party most committed to inclusive education.Among other policies that would impact disabled people, the party pledges to “work vigorously” towards ensuring all levels of government and public bodies are “representative of the diversity of the populations for whom they work”.Although it is not explicit in the manifesto, the party insists that this includes a continued commitment to allowing job-sharing for MPs, which would make it easier for many disabled people to stand for election to parliament.The party would also set targets for participation in sporting activity by disabled people, women and ethnic minorities.And the manifesto says that the party’s top priorities for transport would be “walking and disabled access to all other forms of transport”, while it would prioritise “affordable local public transport, accessible to all, including those with disabilities”.The party would also restore the funding cuts made to the Equality and Human Rights Commission by the coalition, and ensure “effective action” is taken to prevent discrimination against disabled people.All police forces would have to employ equality and diversity liaison officers to tackle and take preventative action on crimes originating in discrimination, and to treat crimes arising from such discrimination “on a par with racist crimes”.The Greens would make equality and diversity lessons mandatory in all schools, provide “comprehensive” diversity and inclusion training for education staff, force schools to promote equal opportunities in their anti-bullying procedures and monitor equality issues in recruitment, and work towards ending stigma against people with mental health problems, including discrimination in employment.The manifesto calls for a larger public sector and a “fundamental shift” to increased spending and taxation.It also promises that the Greens in government would enforce the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, although there is no detail on how this would be implemented.And they would introduce compulsory disability awareness training for taxi-drivers.There is also a series of general pledges, including improving and raising the profile of the Access to Work scheme, recognising the rights of disabled children and their families, full recognition of disabled people’s housing needs, and encouraging greater diversity among entrepreneurs, including disabled people.Like the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and UKIP, the Greens would integrate social care and NHS services, while the manifesto includes a section on tackling the mental health “crisis”.Simeon Hart (pictured), a Deaf British Sign Language (BSL)-user standing for the Greens in the Oldham West and Royton constituency, said he was pleased to see such a “strong commitment to disability”, shown by the 12 pledges in the disability section of the manifesto, while he was also happy to see the party’s focus on wider equality and diversity issues.He said his one disappointment was that the Greens had not matched the Liberal Democrat commitment to recognise BSL as an official language, although he said he believed his party would soon support this policy.He also said the Greens were “very proud” to be the only party so far to provide BSL, easy-read, Braille and audio versions of their manifesto.last_img read more

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The experience of a partiallysighted voter who be

first_imgThe experience of a partially-sighted voter who believes he was discriminated against at a general election polling station last week has added to calls for disabled people to be allowed to vote online.Dan Williams, director of Visualise Training and Consultancy in Cardiff, had asked Cardiff council in advance if he could vote using a large print ballot paper, but was told this was not allowed.The law states that all ballot papers must be the same size, so voters with sight loss are only allowed to be given a sample large print paper and a tactile voting device (TVD) that is placed over the actual ballot paper and guides them to the correct space for placing their mark.But when Williams turned up to vote, he said he was told the polling station did not have any large print ballot papers for him to refer to, while he said staff did not know how to use the TVD.Although he used the TVD to vote, he is not convinced that he marked the correct box.He is now writing to the council to complain, and is calling for new laws that would allow online voting or the use of a large print ballot paper.The council claims its polling station staff did know how to use the TVD and that there was a large print ballot paper on the wall.Williams said he was not even told about the large print ballot paper on the wall but was just told the polling station did not have any large print sample ballot papers.Electoral Commission guidance says that  – as well as a large print display copy – there must also be an “enlarged handheld copy” of the ballot paper that partially-sighted voters can take with them into the polling booth for reference.*Williams’ experience comes after a new report, backed by the disabled president of the Liberal Democrats, Baroness [Sal] Brinton, called for an online voting option – as introduced in Australia, Switzerland and Estonia – to prevent a breach of disabled voters’ human rights.The report, produced by the youth-led digital democracy thinktank WebRoots Democracy, warned that many disabled people were set be deprived of the right to a secret ballot in last week’s general election.The report, Inclusive Voting, calls on the Equality and Human Rights Commission to investigate these potential breaches of disabled people’s rights.Baroness Brinton says in an introduction to the report: “A cornerstone of our electoral system is that voters should be able to vote independently and in secret.“This simply is not the case for many voters with vision impairments and other disabilities.“It is not right that hundreds of thousands of voters are being made to depend on others to cast their ballot on their behalf, or risk accidentally spoiling their vote.“It is clear that the technology exists to enable independent and secret votes for all.“As set out in this report, countries such as Australia have successfully implemented online voting for vision impaired and disabled voters. It is time for us to look at that here in Britain, too.”Among its other recommendations, the report says that all major political parties should be legally obliged to produce their election manifestos in accessible formats before the opening of the window for postal voting.The sight loss charity RNIB has also called for the law on access to voting for partially-sighted voters to be reviewed.An RNIB spokeswoman said: “Partially-sighted voters are telling us they want to be able to vote independently and in secret.“While having a large print reference copy of the ballot paper does help some, we think the current system is not properly enabling voters who cannot read the official ballot paper to cast their vote with the same independence and secrecy as everyone else.“Online voting trials were successfully conducted in the UK many years ago. RNIB thinks this option should be trialled again, with a view to rolling it out to anyone for whom the paper-based voting system creates barriers of access.”RNIB has received more than 500 responses to its voting access survey following the general election.The spokeswoman added: “We will be analysing the data in a few weeks but in the meantime, we’re responding to a steady stream of complaints about blind and partially-sighted people’s experience of the voting process.“People are telling us they have experienced the same problems as highlighted in our reports Turned Out 2015 and Turned Out 2016. They were not able to vote independently and in private.”Only three days before the election, lawyers for Rachael Andrews, from Norwich, announced that she had accepted £2,000 compensation and an apology to settle a legal challenge against her local authority, Broadland District Council, for failing to enable her to vote independently and in secret at the 2015 general and local elections.Andrews, who is blind, had visited her local polling station with her sighted mother-in-law and blind husband and had asked to use a TVD, but was told they did not have one.She was forced to ask her mother-in-law to read out the candidates’ names and mark her votes on the ballot papers on her behalf.Her lawyers, Leigh Day, later argued that the council had breached the Equality Act by failing to provide a TVD, and had also breached the right to vote by secret ballot in the European Convention on Human Rights.Her case was settled out of court.Andrews said: “I felt that the polling station staff didn’t care that I would not be able to cast my vote independently – I felt like I didn’t exist and that my vote counted less than everyone else’s. “The fact that I had to chase for a response and resort to legal action to seek redress added to my feelings that my complaint and my inability to vote in private was not taken seriously by my local authority.”A council spokeswoman said it had apologised to Andrews and “improved our voting systems for all our visually-impaired residents.“On the occasions that Mrs Andrews has voted since, we have liaised closely with Mrs Andrews to support her to vote more confidently and independently.”She said that every polling station now had a TVD “prominently displayed” while all presiding officers were trained in how to use them.*The council claims Williams turned down the chance of a postal vote, despite offering him support to fill in the application form, and that it offered to send him a TVD “on the condition that he sent it back”, but that he turned this offer down because he was “concerned about the cost of the postage to send it back”.But he said this was not correct and that the council had told him that “the TVD was expensive and couldn’t be sent out to everyone who had a visual impairment who wanted to post a vote. “In addition, I explained that I would still need someone to help me use the TVD as I wouldn’t know how to line it up.”He says he was also told by the council that the TVD templates were now “outdated” because the format of the ballot papers had changed.The council was unable to respond by 1pm today (Thursday) after being asked to comment on its apparently misleading statement.last_img read more

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Adam Swift Kyle Amor and Matty Costello come in f

first_imgAdam Swift, Kyle Amor and Matty Costello come in for Ryan Morgan, Matty Smith and Jack Ashworth.Justin Holbrook will therefore select his 17 from:1. Jonny Lomax, 2. Tommy Makinson, 4. Mark Percival, 5. Adam Swift, 6. Theo Fages, 9. James Roby, 10. Kyle Amor, 11. Zeb Taia, 12. Jon Wilkin, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Luke Douglas, 15. Morgan Knowles, 16. Luke Thompson, 17. Dom Peyroux, 18. Danny Richardson, 19. Regan Grace, 20. Matty Lees, 23. Ben Barba, 30. Matty Costello.Francis Cummins will choose his Widnes side from:1. Rhys Hanbury, 2. Stefan Marsh, 3. Krisnan Inu, 4. Charly Runciman, 6. Joe Mellor, 7. Tom Gilmore, 8. Gil Dudson, 10. Alex Gerrard, 11. Chris Houston, 12. Matt Whitley, 15. Danny Craven, 16. Tom Olbison, 17. Sam Wilde, 20. Macgraff Leuluai, 23. Danny Walker, 25. Jay Chapelhow, 33. Aaron Heremaia, 39. Weller Hauraki, 40. Owen Buckley.The game kicks off at 8pm and the referee will be Scott Mikalauskas.Tickets for the clash are now on sale from the Ticket Office at the Totally Wicked Stadium, by calling 01744 455 052 or online here.last_img read more

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FIRST ON 3 Suspects in Columbus Co murder arrested in Oklahoma

first_img The Northern Oklahoma Violent Crimes Task Force arrested 32-year-old Amber Hitchcock,who also goes by Amber Sanders, and 39-year-old William Forney today in Tulsa.According the US Marshals Office, neighbors in Columbus County noticed a resident’s car speeding away Saturday from his home with the alarm sounding. Around the same time, a local police officer was flagged down about a vehicle matching that description in a hotel parking lot. When that officer arrived, hotel staff stated that the vehicle pulled up to a room, loaded belongings and had just left.Authorities also responded to Long’s home, where he died from multiple gunshot wounds to the head. Based on the description from neighbors and hotel staff, authorities identified Hitchcock and Forney as the suspects.Related Article: Columbus Co. man arrested after standoff with law enforcementEarlier this week, Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office deputies recovered Long’s car from the Verdigris River in Oklahoma. Investigators in the area were alerted to the suspects being in town. They found that the couple had been staying at a Tulsa hotel.This morning, they were were taken in to Tulsa County Jail where they’ll await extradition to North Carolina.At this time, investigators have no motive for the crime. 39-year-old William Forney and 32-year-old Amber Hitchcocks (Photo: Tulsa Co. Jail) TABOR CITY, NC (WWAY) — The suspects in a Columbus County murder have been arrested more than a 1,000 miles away from the scene.The Columbus County Sheriff’s Office answered a call for a possible assault Saturday and found Ricky Long dead at a home in Tabor City.- Advertisement – last_img read more

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Log falls off truck impales travel trailer being towed by truck

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A large log broke free from the bed of an 18-wheeler and impaled a travel trailer that was being towed by a truck.Wilmington Police say it happened around 10:00 a.m. at Shipyard Boulevard and Carolina Beach Road.- Advertisement – The log crashed through the travel trailer and was left sticking out the other side.Travel trailer impaled by log truck on December 6, 2017 (Photo: Jason Ward)No one got hurt.No word yet on whether the driver of the log truck received a citation.Related Article: Oak Island man wanted for crashing into same car multiple timeslast_img

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RefuseTheStraw Local restaurant cutting down on use of plastic straws

first_imgWRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Any time you’re out to dinner and you order a beverage, it’s common to ask for or be offered a straw, but now if you ask that question at King Neptune in Wrightsville Beach, it’ll cost you.“With all individual states starting to ban plastics and straws, we’re like we need to come up with a better alternative to the straw,” bartender Brandon Wicklund said. “What better way than a reusable straw that can be washed in the dishwasher, brought back to local businesses and things like that?”- Advertisement – Plastic, single-use straws are still available at King Neptune for 50 cents and you can buy a stainless steel, reusable straw for $2.50.It’s part of the #RefuseTheStraw campaign. Wicklund says the restaurant is doing their part to help the environment.“Sea life, wildlife was all on this planet before we were,” Wicklund said. “To be like, we’re the cause of that? A million straws a day ended up in the ocean. Seven million straws a week times that by 52 weeks in a year. That’s a lot of plastic.”Related Article: Florence rolls ashore in Carolinas, tears buildings apartWe spoke with two customers, Mikayla Myott and Jadra Newman, who were in favor of the change and said it would not change their experience at the restaurant very much.“I don’t even use straws really,” Myott said. “If they give me them at restaurants, then of course I’ll use it but I didn’t even thinking of asking for one. I don’t really care to use them.”Wicklund says he hopes other businesses in the Cape Fear will consider cutting down on their use of plastic straws as well.Wicklund says there has been pushback to the change because some people are worried the new options won’t be as sanitary. He says the restaurant used about 5,000 straws a week before the changes.last_img read more

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Woman convicted of animal cruelty after hoarding ducks at home

first_imgCynthia Huber (Photo: New Hanover Co. Sheriff’s Office) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A New Hanover County woman has been convicted of animal cruelty charges after law enforcement found more than 150 disabled or injured ducks at her home in late 2017.Cynthia Huber was convicted in New Hanover County court Tuesday on four counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty.- Advertisement – She was given a suspended sentence and one year of supervised probation.Huber is ordered not to have any animals during her probation and must undergo a mental health assessment.The judge also ordered Adult Protective Services to review the the condition of Huber’s elderly mother, whom she cares for.Related Article: NC spectator’s courtroom curse lands her behind barsHuber was originally charged in December after sheriff’s deputies searched her home on Watermill Way and found dozens of disabled or injured ducks. Skywatch Bird Rescue took the ducks and Friends of Felines removed cats from the property.During Huber’s court date on April 25, the state made a motion to continue the case because veterinarians needed to testify were not available. The judge denied the request and dropped the charges.The charges were refiled and Huber was served on May 9.last_img read more

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WANTED Armed suspect robs Walgreens pharmacy in Murrayville

first_imgNEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office is searching for the man who robbed the Walgreens at gunpoint.It happened Tuesday afternoon at the Walgreens at North College Road and Kerr Avenue.- Advertisement – Walgreens armed robbery suspect (Photo: NHSO) Walgreens armed robbery suspect (Photo: NHSO) 1 of 3center_img According to the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, the suspect went to the pharmacy counter and demanded narcotics. After he threatened the use of a gun, he was given two bottles.He walked away from the scene.K9 units, the Sable helicopter, and investigators are searching for the suspect.Related Article: Three arrested in Pender County armed robbery, shootingIf you know anything, contact the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office. Walgreens armed robbery suspect (Photo: NHSO)last_img read more

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ELT student numbers remain consistent at 87000 – Education Ministry

first_img SharePrint <a href=’http://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/ck.php?n=ab2c8853&amp;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’https://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=97&amp;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> Foreign students enrolled in English language courses in Malta remains consistent over 87,000, the Ministry of Education says.Last year’s figure of 87,112 kept the numbers of international students consistent despite being a slight decrease on 2017 figures (87,190).According to the Ministry students from Italy, Germany and France made up almost half of the intake (48.6%) whilst the remainder are made up of several other nationals from around the globe.Russia is ranked at 4th with a market share of 6.2% followed Poland, Austria, Brazil, Spain and Japan were all 4% or over, respectively.Breaking down the numbers of international visitors to Malta, 3.4% were students learning English in Malta. According to 2018 figures, the majority of students coming to Malta are coming during the Winter period between January and March (18/6%). This is almost 6% greater than 2012 (12.7%)The Ministry of Education explains that the number of international language students visiting the country helps to support tourism accommodation. Over 21% of international students are reported to stay in hotels (21.1%), over 12% of those in 3 star hotels (12.2%) and a further 8.8% in 4 star hotels.  This diversified the previous year’s share of students which were staying with host families (27.0%).These students were also understood to be staying in the country for around 2.5 weeks on average.Representatives of the ELT Council believe that the sector still has the potential to still grow and is having a large impact on the national economy. According to Deloitte, ELT students last year spent around €137 million.Deloitte has there been commissioned to study the challenges facing the industry and how to prepare for its future growth.WhatsApplast_img read more

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2nd Orange African Social Venture Prize winners announced

first_imgAdvertisement Orange announced the three winners of the African Social Venture Prize during the AfricaCom Awards ceremony held in Cape TownThe three winners will receive financial assistance along with management and technical support from Orange specialistsPARIS, France, November 15, 2012 — The Orange Social Venture Prize, now in its second year, aims to support the development of entrepreneurs and start-ups offering solutions that use information and communication technologies (ICT) to meet the needs of people living in Africa.Almost 450 candidates responded to the call for projects, which ran from May to September 2012, clearly demonstrating the underlying entrepreneurial vitality that exists on the African continent. Proposed projects spanned a variety of fields such as healthcare, agriculture, education, energy, industry and commerce illustrating the high potential of telecommunications for development in Africa.The panel of judges, consisting of Orange specialists, the media and institutions that promote development, chose three prizewinners from among 13 nominated projects that were presented on Orange’s pan-African web portal, http://www.starafrica.com. – Advertisement – The awards ceremony was held yesterday in Cape Town, South Africa, during the AfricaCom Awards, an annual event that recognizes the most significant innovations and achievements of the telecommunications industry in Africa.The winning projects are:1. Vivus Limited, a start-up from Côte d’Ivoire that allows agricultural or farm produce traders to optimize their stocks by adjusting to supply and demand, thereby avoiding waste. A SMS-based system provides traders with real-time information on the latest deals enabling them to order the exact quantity of stocks required. This system will contribute to the development of a more efficient and profitable trade-cycle.2. The Takachar project, which has already been launched in Kenya, was awarded second prize. This provides an innovative system to improve waste management by using telecoms technologies to track waste collection in real time. This enables cooperatives to operate more efficiently and increases the proportion of organic waste that can be transformed into charcoal.3. The third prize was awarded to the e-commerce business Niokobok. This business enables Senegalese people living abroad to send basic necessities to their families back home avoiding the extra cost of transferring money and enabling them to better manage their finances. Twenty-three references are already available for basic foods as well as hygiene and cleaning products.In addition to funding of up to 25,000 euros, Orange will provide support to the three projects for six months from its local subsidiaries as well as expert advice from business and telecoms professionals.In addition, a “favourite project” was selected by visitors of the Group’s web portal StarAfrica. Over 50,000 visitors voted for the Egyptian start-up “Innovative Electronic Employment Platform”. This innovative recruitment service uses an interactive platform and SMS alerts to help people seeking short-term jobs or freelance work to complement their revenues. StarAfrica will support this recruitment service throughout the year, in particular by providing additional online visibility.Orange operates in 20 countries in Africa and the Middle East and has a total of over 78 million customers. To contribute to the social and economic development of these countries, the Group has put together the “Orange for Development” programme, which is based on three central themes:The development of its networks to maximize the number of people who are able to benefit from digital services;Innovation to meet the needs of populations through value-added services in essential fields such as healthcare, education, agriculture and banking services; andContributing to the local development of ICT markets and innovation ecosystems.It is to meet this last goal, which is aligned with both its innovation strategy as well as its Corporate Social Responsibility policy, that the Group decided to launch the Orange African Social Venture Prize in 2011.last_img read more

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