Month: July 2019
The government has been heavily-criticised by the public spending watchdog for failing to investigate how its own sanctions regime affects disabled people and other claimants of out-of-work benefits.The National Audit Office (NAO) report says the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has failed to track the costs and benefits of sanctions, including financial hardship, the impact on claimants’ mental health, and higher public spending in other areas, such as council-funded support.And it calls on DWP to conduct a “wide-ranging review” of its regime, which has led to 400,000 sanctions being applied in 2015 across four benefits: jobseeker’s allowance (JSA), employment and support allowance (ESA), universal credit and income support.DWP has previously rejected calls for a wider review, and NAO says it has also “resisted working with academic researchers and third-party organisations to explore the effect of sanctions”.DWP has even told Work Programme providers not to cooperate with government-funded research looking at the role and impact of sanctions.Only last month, the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities – in a report concluding that there had been “grave or systematic violations” of the UN’s disability convention by the UK government – pointed to a significant and “disproportionate” increase in benefit sanctions handed to ESA claimants between 2012 and 2014.The committee concluded that sanctioned claimants had faced “financial hardship, including through becoming indebted, relying on the support of relatives or on food banks or having reduced essential services”.Disabled activists have repeatedly highlighted the deaths of disabled benefit claimants they believe were linked to the government’s sanctions regime, including those of David Clapson (pictured) and Alan McArdle.DWP admitted last year that 10 of 49 benefit claimants whose deaths were subject to secret reviews by the department had had their payments sanctioned at some stage.The latest DWP figures showed a sharp rise in the number of sanctions imposed on ESA claimants, with 1,199 decisions taken to impose a sanction on an ESA claimant in May 2016, rising to 1,749 in June, compared to 900 in January.NAO says that DWP has not used sanctions consistently, that referral rates have varied “substantially” across jobcentres and providers of employment support, and that sanction numbers have “risen and fallen over time in ways that cannot be explained by changes in claimant compliance”.It also says that the use of sanctions was “not rare”, with nearly one in four JSA claimants between 2010 and 2015 being sanctioned at least once.And preliminary research carried out by NAO suggests that the use of sanctions on sick and disabled people who claim ESA actually led to a fall in the time they spent in work.NAO says that international studies show claimants who receive sanctions are more likely to secure work, but this effect can be short-lived, because people “move into work more quickly, by accepting less well-paid and sustainable work than they otherwise would have done”.Studies also suggest that sanctions encourage some claimants to become “inactive”, by stopping their claim without finding work.The watchdog has estimated that the government failed to pay £132 million in benefits in 2015 as a result of sanctions, and paid out £35 million in hardship payments to these claimants, while the cost of administering the sanctions system in 2015 was between £30 million and £50 million.Linda Burnip, co-founder of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), said: “As DPAC has always said, sanctions do not help disabled people find and keep work and it is good to have this confirmed by the NAO.“How can anyone, even the dimmest of people, seriously think that someone with no money for essentials such as food, heating and sanitary products is likely to be able to pay to travel to interviews, buy clothes for interviews or have any energy to even apply for any jobs? It’s simply a ludicrous idea.”John McArdle, co-founder of Black Triangle, welcomed the NAO report and said it showed the “arbitrary” nature of the government’s sanctions regime and “confirms what we have been saying all along”.He said the sanctions regime breaches both article two (the right to life) and article six (the right to a fair trial) of the European Convention on Human Rights.McArdle said: “There is no safety protocol in place. Disabled people on ESA are being sanctioned and they are basically leaving people destitute.“It can put people in life-threatening situations. It can cause disabled people catastrophic harm in a way that it wouldn’t do to people who are not so disabled.”But McArdle said there was “not a hope in hell” that the government would agree to the NAO recommendation to carry out a wide-ranging review.He said: “The only thing that will bring this government to heel is proceedings in the criminal court.”The Liberal Democrats called on the government to look again at its “discredited” sanctions regime.The party’s leader, Tim Farron, said the report was the “Civil Service equivalent of a character assassination”.He said: “It shows that a failing department is trying to prop up a discredited system. “The DWP have turned this system [into] a postcode lottery and means that someone could be sanctioned in one place and not in another for the same thing.“What is worse is that the government are not assessing the impact of sanctions, using their own data to see what is going on and they are not even tracking the benefits.”The Liberal Democrats voted to scrap all benefit sanctions at their party conference in September.Meg Hillier, the Labour MP who chairs the Commons public accounts committee, said: “Benefit sanctions punish some of the poorest people in the country.“But despite the anxiety and misery they cause, it seems to be pot luck who gets sanctioned.“While studies suggest sanctions do encourage some people back into work, other people stop claiming but do not start working and the Department for Work and Pensions has no record of them.“If vulnerable people fall through the safety net, what happens to them?”A DWP spokeswoman said: “Sanctions are an important part of our benefits system and it is right that there is a system in place for tackling those few who do not fulfil their commitment to find work.“This report fails to recognise the improvements we have made to sanctions, particularly to help those who are vulnerable.“The number of sanctions has fallen, and they are only ever used as a last resort after people fail to do what is asked of them in return for benefits.“We will consider the recommendations, and respond fully in due course.”
Speaking in the Brexit debate on Monday, Lisa Nandy told the Commons that she had seen a “hardening” of attitudes towards Brexit – both among her constituents and MPs.“Constituents of mine who told me three years ago that they’d voted Leave, and they were happy to leave on whatever terms parliament deemed necessary as long as we respected the result, are now telling me daily they want to cut all ties and leave with no deal at all.“Constituents who voted to Remain, who said that we’d had the debate and the other side had won fair and square and we just had to get on with it, are now telling me they want to halt this process altogether and remain in the EU.“And I have to say that having spent a lot of time with colleagues trying to find a way through this, in here and behind the scenes, I feel exactly the same thing is happening in parliament as well.“And if we don’t start to move, they won’t start to move, and there is absolutely no prospect of repairing this country.”Unlike Gareth Snell, another ‘inbetweener’ Labour MP who campaigned to Remain but represents a Leave seat, Nandy welcomed the amendment by Oliver Letwin for ‘indicative votes’ – which passed by a majority of 27 on Monday night.Although Nandy had indicated at various times over the last few months that she would consider voting for Theresa May’s deal, she often noted that the Prime Minister had not made contact, instead preferring to pander to hard Brexiteers in the Conservative Party.The Labour MP for Wigan was also disappointed with the attempt at “bribery” in the form of a ‘Stronger Towns’ fund, and most recently by the Prime Minister’s statement last week in which she tried to “pit parliament against the people”.Towards the end of her speech, Nandy spoke passionately about the prospect of ‘no deal’ in response to minister Chris Heaton-Harris who was apparently rolling his eyes and heckling.Tags:Lisa Nandy /Brexit /Brexit debate /no deal /
Browsing through the audio section at Dijital Fix, Christmas shopper Nick Hansen knows exactly what he is looking for — a set of headphones that will help him unplug, but that he won’t have to plug in. “I’m asking Santa for bluetooth headphones because I absolutely hate cords,” said Hansen, “they tangle.” And his headphones should be big. A graduate student in product design, Hansen said he works in a large, open office and to get work done, he often feigns being anti-social.“I want the ones that block out the noise and are nice and big to make it obvious that I don’t want to talk to anybody,” he said. 0% Tags: tech Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% In the midst of a tech boom, a look at the Christmas shopping lists of several Missionites revealed a tech savvy generation’s desire to slow the pace of life — some prefer functionality and quality over innovation, while others are harboring a nostalgic yearning for the antique. “In terms of gadgets, portability is definitely a trend,” said Lauren Franklin, a sales associate at Dijital Fix at 820 Valencia St. This Christmas season, Franklin said her top sellers include wireless, noise-cancelling headphones and portable speakers. “A lot of people are interested in going the wireless route and are integrating that into their daily lives,” she said. Explaining that technology is also going “modular,” Franklin said her customers are increasingly looking for “things that can easily be integrated into other things.” Compact technology that is smart in terms of versatility and functionality is trending. “Having to use bluetooth for this, wifi for that, and batteries for this device, is tedious,” said Franklin. “The rule is the simpler, the better.”Aaron Levine, a design student, boasts that he has found the perfect modular Christmas gift for tech lovers, and pulled out a gadget from his pocket that resembled a hockey puck. “This is the greatest little speaker ever,” said Levine convincingly. The palm-sized tech toy is an X-Mini Two Portable Capsule Speaker — a complicated name for a miniature device with many functions. “This tiny little thing is USB rechargeable, and opens up to get more of base,” said Levine. “You can plug your headphones in here. Plus, you can daisy chain multiple capsules together if you want to get more sound. It’s a huge hit.” And for just about $10 a pop, he promises that his entire extended family will be equipped with the mini speaker this year. Clementine Breslin already has portable speakers. The millennial works at an audio online streaming platform, where she is at the source of the latest music technology. Her biggest wish for Christmas? Vinyls, cassettes, film, and other “throwback” technologies. “I grew up with iTunes and downloading music — the tactile element with this technology is nonexistent,” said Breslin, explaining that she recently began acquiring vinyls — they give her a sense of discovery and ownership she said has been lost in the digitized world. “Finding music in a dollar bin, that’s a feeling that you can’t get from downloading tunes from the internet.”Another outdated gadget that is making the retro-rounds is the cassette tape player, said Breslin. “Everyone has a reverence for the analog. Maybe not for Christmas, but walkmans will be the next wave of tech trends, I think.”Vic Pizarro works at a Mission pawn shop and said that quality technology never goes out of style. Photo By Laura WaxmannHer prediction may not be far off. Vic Pizarro, a salesman at the Pawn Shop at 2050 Mission St., said he has received a lot of Christmas gift requests for cassette tape players, walkmans, film cameras and transistor radios. “There are people out there that just want to listen to a radio without separate speakers and all of that other nonsense,” said Pizarro. “Even kids these days want something physical to hold on to. They come into my store and want the “toys” their parents had. Some of these gadgets look better, sound better, feel better.” As toymaker Paul Long of DIY.org, a digital education company headquartered at 3360 20th St., muses on the longevity of tech trends, he offers advice for parents planning to place tech toys under their Christmas trees.“Buy things that either inspire or are lasting,” he said. “We can’t ignore technology, but the things we buy for our children should have some substance beyond the interface.” Back at Dijital Fix, Breslin selects her Christmas gift, and points to a $200 polaroid camera.“I still have a couple of those rattling around the trunk of my car,” said her father, Eric, smiling. “I guess it’s true what they say, that everything that’s old is new again, eventually.”
SAINTS have announced their squad for Saturday’s Super League Playoff Semi Final with Warrington Wolves.Chris Flannery returns to the side after being out for the last couple of weeks but Michael Shenton hasn’t recovered from a hand injury sustained in the win over Wigan Warriors.The squad is:1. Paul Wellens, 2. Ade Gardner, 4. Sia Soliola, 5. Francis Meli, 6. Lance Hohaia, 7. Jonny Lomax, 8. Josh Perry, 9. James Roby, 10. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 11. Tony Puletua, 12. Jon Wilkin, 13. Chris Flannery, 14. Anthony Laffranchi, 15. Mark Flanagan, 16. Paul Clough, 17. Gary Wheeler, 19. Andy Dixon, 21. Tommy Makinson, 26. Josh Jones.Tony Smith’s Warrington side will be chosen from:1. Brett Hodgson, 2. Chris Riley, 4. Ryan Atkins, 5. Joel Monaghan, 6. Lee Briers, 7. Richie Myler, 8. Adrian Morley, 9. Michael Monaghan, 10. Garreth Carvell, 11. Trent Waterhouse, 12. Ben Westwood, 13. Ben Harrison, 14. Micky Higham, 15. Simon Grix, 16. Paul Wood, 17. Mike Cooper, 19. Stefan Ratchford , 20. Chris Hill, 21. Tyrone McCarthy.The game kicks off at 6.15pm and the referee is Ben Thaler.Tickets are on sale for the game too and details are here.Stat Pack:Last Ten Meetings:Warrington 6, St Helens 28 (SLQPO, 15/9/12)St Helens 12, Warrington 22 (SLR23, 6/8/12)Warrington 16, St Helens 28 (SLR9, 30/3/12)Warrington 35, St Helens 28 (SLR19, 24/6/11)St Helens 18, Warrington 25 (SLR3, 25/2/11)St Helens 28, Warrington 12 (SLQPO, 10/9/10)Warrington 24, St Helens 26 (SLR24, 31/7/10)St Helens 28, Warrington 18 (SLR7, 19/3/10)Warrington 26, St Helens 40 (SLR20, 11/7/09)St Helens 26, Warrington 14 (SLR1, 13/2/09)Previous Playoff Meetings:Warrington 6, St Helens 28 (SLQPO, 15/9/12)St Helens 28, Warrington 12 (SLQPO, 10/9/10)Super League Summary:St Helens won 37 (includes wins in 2010 and 2012 play-offs)Warrington won 42 drawsHighs and Lows:St Helens highest score: 72-2 (H, 2002) (also widest margin)Warrington highest score: 56-22 (H, 2001) (also widest margin)
ICONIC aftershave and deodorant brand, BRUT, are marking their second season as an Official Partner of Super League by donating £5,000 to one of the 14 First Utility Super League club community foundations, as part of their BRUT Fan of Pride campaign which launches in April.Each Super League club is supporting BRUT Fan of Pride through a player ambassador – including St Helens legend Paul Wellens – and the overall winner will win an invitation to the end of season Man of Steel Awards, their team’s signed shirt, match tickets and some fantastic BRUT product.In their first season of Super League partnership in 2013, BRUT launched Fan of Pride, which celebrated those Super League fans that ‘Man Up’ for their team and sport. The inaugural winner was Warrington Wolves fan, and serving solider, Alan Boyle, and this year fans will be invited to nominate the club’s most loyal supporters to follow in his footsteps.In addition to Fan of Pride, the new season will see BRUT team up with Super League TV to bring fans the BRUT Try of the Month, available across its YouTube, Facebook and Twitter platforms.BRUT’s commitment to a try-laden 2014 also extends to the title sponsorship of the Man of Steel BRUT Top Try Scorer, won last year by Wigan Warriors’ Josh Charnley.Fans will also be able to win Super League tickets on a regular basis via the @BRUTforMen Twitter handle, and will also have the chance to ‘Man Up’ at the BRUT Fan Zone during the competition’s ‘Magic Weekend’ in May.
SAINTS got their Super League season off to the flying start with a 30-16 win over Huddersfield Giants.Luke Walsh drove the show with a hand in all five tries – Mark Percival profiting twice from the scrum half deft play.He was backed by Jordan Turner, the strong running Atelea Vea and the go forward of Kyle Amor in appalling conditions.Keiron Cunningham’s charges mastering the rainy weather ahead of their opponents.After a tame opening Saints won back to back penalties and profited through a lovely piece of play from Jon Wilkin.A link move from Walsh and Turner won the home side the momentum and then the captain slotted an inch perfect kick through for Percival to touch down.Huddersfield threatened to hit back on 10 minutes – but Wilkin intercepted – and then had another two sets on Saints’ line.Adam Swift was then unlucky not to catch a stray pass and from the scrum Aaron Murphy levelled up matters.The Giants threatened more points as the half progressed – Saints defending like their lives depended on it.Wilkin threatened with another chip over the top but once Makinson failed to deal with a lengthy kick from Brough, Cunningham’s men were under pressure once more.And desperate to put points on the board Huddersfield dropped the ball.Saints made them regret that decision. A high tackle in midfield saw them gain possession and following strong runs from Dominique Peyroux, Amor and Turner, Walsh slipped a wonderful kick through to Vea.The second rower’s pick up matching the wonderful skill of his scrum half.Walsh was having an excellent game and another chip over to the corner – and the pressure from Makinson – saw the Giants spill the ball.Saints returned the favour though and moments later the visitors were back down Saints’ end looking for points.Ball handling was proving to be an issue but not for Walsh.He drove Saints into excellent field position once again and following a strong run from Savelio, Percival crossed over thanks to Jack Owens’ pass.Saints defended back to back penalties on their own line and went in 16-4 to the good.The second half began like the first – strong kicks, driving down the middle and playing for field position.Walsh almost unlocked the door on 46 minutes with another superb kick – Saints gaining a drop out.And from there they scored – Jordan Turner crossing on an angle and showing his strength.Walsh then kicked the extras and Saints looked home and dry.But a three penalties in a short spell handed the impetus back to the Giants; a slide rule kick giving Ukuma Ta’ai a simple put down.Saints weathered the storm and then restored their advantage.A simple Walsh kick was knocked back by Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and scooped up by Luke Thompson.With 10 minutes to go the Giants received a huge slice of luck and it opened up the game as a result.They were adjudged to have kicked a 40:20 when it was clear the ball left the boot well after the ’40’ and then Jake Connor put down a kick right under the sticks.The West Stand suggesting he didn’t ground it.But Walsh kicked a penalty with three minutes to go to settle the nerves and claim the points.Match Summary:Saints:Tries: Percival (2), Vea, Turner, ThompsonGoals: Walsh (5 from 6)Giants:Tries: Murphy, Ta’ai, ConnorGoals: Brough (2 from 3)Penalties:Saints: 8Giants: 9HT: 16-4FT: 30-16REF: R HicksATT: 10,408Teams:Saints: 22. Jack Owens; 2. Tommy Makinson, 18. Dominique Peyroux, 4. Mark Percival, 5. Adam Swift; 3. Jordan Turner, 7. Luke Walsh; 10. Kyle Amor, 9. James Roby, 14. Lama Tasi, 12. Jon Wilkin, 11. Atelea Vea, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook.Subs: 8. Alex Walmsley, 15. Greg Richards, 16. Andre Savelio, 17. Luke Thompson.Giants: 1. Scott Grix; 2. Jermaine McGillvary, 3. Leroy Cudjoe, 18. Jake Connor, 5. Aaron Murphy; 6. Danny Brough, 7. Jamie Ellis; 16. Sam Rapira, 9. Ryan Hinchcliffe, 8. Eorl Crabtree, 17. Ukuma Ta’ai, 12. Michael Lawrence, 13. Larne Patrick.Subs: 14. Daniel Smith, 19. Josh Johnson, 20. Kruise Leeming, 22. Oliver Roberts.
<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>Saints Head Coach Justin Holbrook and fans favorite Lachlan Coote joined Wigan’s Adrian Lam and Zak Hardaker at the DW Stadium to talk-up the big game.A total of over 20,000 tickets have been sold by both clubs with Saints fans flocking in their numbers to support the Red Vee over the road. We have sold over 5,500 tickets for the big clash with more tickets still available in the East stand for any fans still wishing to purchase last minute tickets.Justin Holbrook revealed his 19 man squad earlier today and during the press conference said that he would assess the fitness of Theo Fages following the injury he sustained in the win over Hull KR.“We are OK [injury wise]. I am not sure on Theo Fages, we will see how he looks later in the week, but everyone else is fine.”On the opposite side, Wigan Head Coach Adrian Lam also revealed that they will assess the fitness of Sean O’Loughlin too ahead of the game.Holbrook was asked about Wigan’s recent run of in-different form, but admitted both teams will be on top of their game when it comes to Derby Day.“It is definitely [the biggest game]. Saints vs Wigan is massive for everyone given both sets of fans and the history. It is a massive day and we are looking forward to it.“They are as dangerous as any other side in the comp on their day. They might not be happy where they are sitting after 10 rounds, but we have certainly seen what they are capable of.“In any sport, in any derby, the two sides want to win more than everything. It doesn’t matter where both teams are in the table, both sides are prepared to play at their best and it will be no different on Friday.”Hardaker labeled the game ‘like a final’ and his opposite number Coote is well aware of the hostile environment he will come up against on Good Friday.“It was a great atmosphere [in round one]. Justin warned me about it being hostile and I am expecting nothing different this week. I am really excited to see what it is going to be like.”He was also asked about his start to life at the Saints as well as his reaction to the love the Saints fans have shown him.“I am enjoying it since I have been at the club, it has been awesome. We have a great bunch of blokes and playing behind the forwards makes my life much easier.“It was a pretty emotional night against Warrington, walking around with that atmosphere. To think where I was at last year, thinking I was coming to the end of my career but coming to the Saints really got me firing again and finding the love for the game again.”
56th National Sweet Potato Convention in Wilmington (Photo: Jenna Kurzyna/WWAY) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington is the home to the 56th Annual National Sweet Potato Convention this year. It is bringing more than 600 people from all over the country.This is a three day event that started Sunday and lasts until Tuesday.- Advertisement – Throughout the convention there will be a lot of activities planned including educational sessions, motivational speakers and production tips for sweet potato growers.The Executive Director, Kelly Mciver, said this is one of her favorite times of the year.“Really, it’s just about coming together, being with everyone. It’s like a big family reunion once a year. You get to see your friends from Mississippi, Louisiana, California all come together, enjoy one another. We learn something, we all just have a good time,” Mciver said.Related Article: Student’s cookie recipe may have included grandparent’s ashesMciver said North Carolina represents more than one half of sweet potato production grown in the United States.This convention has been held in Raleigh, Charlotte and Asheville in the past, but organizers brought it to Wilmington this year to be closer to the shore.
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A new grocery-chain coming to Wilmington is looking to fill more than 100 jobs.Earth Fare will host a job fair next week to hire both full and part-time positions.- Advertisement – Job fair attendees should be prepared for an on-site interview at the fair, and to talk about qualifications and provide schedule availability.You’re encourage to apply online at www.earthfare.com/wilmington prior to the hiring event.Earth Fare, founded in Asheville in 1975, is a specialty organic and natural foods grocery store.Related Article: Still recovering from floods, Fair Bluff to lose major employerThe job fair is happening at The Terraces on Sir Tyler, 1826 Sir Tyler Drive in Wilmington, from October 10-13 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.Earth Fare will be located at 943 Military Cutoff Road in Wilmington. According to their website, the store is expected to open fall 2018.
The students also raised the $4,500 to make this event happen. Students were bussed to the Northside Church’s gym to package meals to send to children all the way in Bangladesh.An organizer says more than 100 students participated in the service project.One student says this is her first year helping. She says this opportunity has done more than just help children around the world.Related Article: ‘Ironman Grandpa’ makes 5th trek across the United States“We love doing things that build our community here in our school and here in Wilmington,” Gloria Macedo said. “After Hurricane Florence, we’ve been trying to come together and do lots of fun, special activities. It’s great to just unite for such a great cause like this. It’s really great to just unite as a class, as a school.”Macedo says they have been raising money to put this event on since the beginning of February.The school’s secondary principal says feed the hunger helps organize meals to send to children in other third world countries like Haiti and Sri Lanka. He says they have done this event several times since 2012. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — 20,000 packets of food in less than two hours. That’s what students from Wilmington Christian Academy spent their morning assembling.The kids worked hard this morning to pack meals for children across the world. The event was part of the Feed the Hunger’s “Pack-A-Thon.”- Advertisement –
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Congressman David Rouzer is doing his part in shaping the future of America. Rouzer hosted a youth leadership conference for high school students Monday morning.It may be early, but it’s never too early to start being a leader. Led by Rouzer, high school juniors from across the region had the chance to learn from local entrepreneurs about their journeys to success.- Advertisement – “Well it’s never too early to start learning about leadership,” South Johnston High School Assistant Principal Ron James said. “I believe that the earlier they learn, the better off they’ll be once they get into the real world.”James pushed his students to come to the 7th Congressional District Youth Leadership and Entrepreneurial Conference at Cape Fear Community College.Rouzer hosted the conference and spoke to almost a 100 high schoolers from District 7.Related Article: CFCC to launch Human Services Technology Substance Abuse degree program“The morning part really is focused in leadership skills,” Rouzer said. “How you can communicate in today’s society, what’s the best way to translate your ideas and your thoughts to a greater marketplace.”Students spent the day getting first hand advice from entrepreneurs and getting to put their own skills to the test through interactive exercises.James knows his students’ potential, but he wants them to build the skills to create their own journey to success.“Some of them need confidence. the ability to speak in front of others,” James said. “To understand what it takes to be a good leader. Some of the characteristics and traits they might not be aware of.”This was Rouzer’s fourth annual conference.WWAY’s very own Hannah Patrick moderated the second half of the conference.
Watts appealed the ruling.The State Court of Appeals granted Watts a new trial after determining the trial court should not have admitted evidence of a prior sexual assault.His trial continues this week in Columbus County. Calvin Watts was convicted of sexual assault in 2014. (Photo: Columbus County) TABOR CITY, NC (WWAY) — A Tabor City man is back on trial for the attempted rape and kidnapping of child.In 2014, 57-year-old Calvin Watts was convicted of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old child in his home.- Advertisement –
Advertisement I am taking part in the Internet Freedom Fellows program funded by the US Department of State and managed by the US Mission in Geneva. The fellowship follows up on US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s pledge to find innovative ways to promote the use of the Internet in support of human rights. While in Geneva earlier this week, I took part in an event where Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, US Representative to the Human Rights Council, reiterated Mrs. Clinton’s statement that the Internet is “the public space of the 21st century.”Many in Africa are yet to see the Internet as a basic right. Yet Ben Scott, Clinton’s policy adviser on innovation whom I had a chat with called the Internet “the first truly 21st Century human rights issue.” – Advertisement – We were looking at Internet freedom and before I had asked how this basic right would be realized for many in Africa. Mr. Scott said that just like mobile banking (MPesa, Mobile money) is doing tremendously well in Africa, Internet access will continue to be tied to mobile telephone penetration in Africa. He indicated that Africa’s mobile phone penetration has surpassed Europe’s yet it’s still at 40 percent. This makes the Internet and mobile phone market pose both an economic and political opportunity.RELATED: Think you know Africa? okIn most discussions it was clear that we have two types of freedoms related to the Internet; freedom to access Internet and freedom of expression on the Internet. World leading economies have thrived on information systems and making them accessible to all citizens, therefore increasing their participation in the economy. A connected society is going to be more prosperous and stable.Many governments in Africa are moving to invest heavily in the laying down of Internet infrastructure. As more people on the continent are connected to the Internet, they will also seek a different kind of governance because of the access to information. This is what Scott called, a dictator’s dilemma.“Everyone recognizes that future of economy is largely based on information infrastructure. So governments want populations connected but at the same time they want to control speech on these networks and it’s a dilemma,” Scott said. “Internet tends to shift power from centralized institutions to many leaders representing different communities. Governments who want to censor are fighting a battle against the nature of the technology,” Scott said.So the dilemma faced by that despotic leader, whom we have in plenty on the continent, is political speech versus economic prosperity. Scott said: “You can’t have one and leave the other and that’s the exact dictator’s dilemma.”This was well manifested in the recent protests in Uganda, when the government instructed the Internet service providers to shut down social media like Facebook and Twitter.www.csmonitor.com
Advertisement Before the world cup started, I wrote about how Social Media was going bananas about this world cup and the Tweets from the opening match alone can verify why what the hype in these social networks was all about. According to twitter data, over 12.2 Million tweets about the Brazil Vs Croatia Match were recorded, and this is just the beginning, we expect crazier results as we go along.The data also shows how nearly every country in the world joined in on the conversation during the course of the match with a lot of reactions and tweets coming in when Brazil equalized. Neymar(@Neymar_Jr) one of the goal scorers recorded a 10 times following during the match alone compared to his daily following with more than 165,000 new followers. – Advertisement – We are expecting a lot more traffic as we go along but for now all we can say is that it was a nice bet to have the Social networks hype over the world cup before the started.
Advertisement Earlier this year, Micro-blogging website, Twitter Inc. announced they had suspended more than 125,000 accounts for violating their longtime prohibition on violent threats and the promotion of terrorism.“We strongly condemn these acts and remain committed to eliminating the promotion of violence or terrorism on our platform,” the company writes in a blog posts.The micro-blogging site on Thursday went ahead to suspended an additional 235,000 accounts for violating their policies related to promotion of terrorism in the six months. This brings it to an overall number of suspensions to 360,000 since the middle of 2015. – Advertisement – The San Francisco-based company said in a blog post that it has also made progress in preventing users who were suspended from immediately returning to the platform using different accounts, which has been a problem in the past.It said its rate of daily suspensions is up 80% since last year, though it did not provide specific numbers. The suspensions spike immediately following terrorist attacks, it said.Since mid-2015, we have suspended over 125,000 accounts for threatening or promoting terrorist acts. Read more here: https://t.co/FQJeOTtPLz— Policy (@policy) February 5, 2016Twitter noted that there is no magic formula for identifying extremist accounts. Like other social media companies, it uses a variety of tools, including spam-fighting technology, automatic identification as well as reports from users, to help combat abuse.[related-posts]The report on its efforts come after Twitter has been criticized for not doing enough to keep extremist groups like Islamic State from using the short-messaging service to crowd source supporters and potential attackers.
Welcome to Starters Orders. Our new daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Monday 11 NovemberRugby League World CupFrance (+14) to (+12)2.15 KemptonMountain Lion 3/1 > 7/4
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL 2017CHELTENHAM 2017: HOME PAGE CHELTENHAM 2017: OPEN AN ACCOUNT CHELTENHAM 2017: ANTEPOST PRICES CHELTENHAM 2017: VIDEO PREVIEWS CHELTENHAM 2017: PREVIEW NIGHTS CHELTENHAM 2017: PREVIEW NIGHTS TIPS CHELTENHAM 2017: FREE BETS CHELTENHAM 2017: FREE PDF STATS GUIDE CHELTENHAM 2017: LATEST NEWS CHELTENHAM 2017: MARKET MOVERS CHELTENHAM 2017: COUNTDOWN BOOSTS That completes our countdown news service. All the headlines will now be made on the track. Best of luck !We’ve captured the key Cheltenham stories in snappy bullet point format from 20 days before the Festival so you can keep in touch, at a glance.Monday 13 March – 1 DAY TO GOWillie Mullins’ stranglehold on the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle could continue at Cheltenham on Tuesday but it remains to be seen whether it will be last year’s winner Vroum Vroum Mag or Limini that will prove his number one hope.Douvan will face nine rivals in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham on Wednesday.Willie Mullins is banking on Melon’s ability making up for his inexperience in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.Sunday 12 March – 2 DAYS TO GOCue Card and Native River are reported to be thriving at Colin Tizzard’s base as the Gold Cup looms at Cheltenham.Empire Of Dirt looks set to stick to the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham on Thursday despite the defection of Don Poli from the Gold Cup.Movewiththetimes became the latest Cheltenham Festival casualty after being ruled out of Tuesday’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle through injury.Saturday 11 March – 3 DAYS TO GODon Poli has been ruled out of next week’s Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup after suffering a setback.Alan King is confident Yanworth will run “extremely well” in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham on Tuesday.Ellmarie Holden is looking forward to saddling her first ever runner at the Cheltenham Festival when Ex Patriot lines up in the JCB Triumph Hurdle.Friday 10 March – 4 DAYS TO GORoad To Riches has been ruled out of the Cheltenham Festival with a setback and might not run again this season.Douvan will face a maximum of 14 rivals in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham on Wednesday.Willie Mullins has 20 of the remaining 40 possibles in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle next Wednesday at Cheltenham.Thursday 9 March – 5 DAYS TO GOSire De Grugy has been ruled out of the Cheltenham Festival, but trainer Gary Moore could still be represented by Traffic Fluide in the Queen Mother Champion ChaseTrainer Andrew Lynch will hang fire on making a decision about which race Zabana tackles at Cheltenham until he sees what way the ground is at Prestbury Park.Cheltenham clerk of the course Simon Claisse left the going unchanged at good to soft, soft in places, on Wednesday after more rain fell at the Gloucestershire track. No further outbreaks of rain are forecast before the weekend when it could become wet again on Sunday.Wednesday 8 March – 6 DAYS TO GOLimini has not been supplemented for Tuesday’s Champion Hurdle leaving Buveur D’Air and Yanworth to top 13 contenders.Altior heads 15 horses to have stood their ground for the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy at Cheltenham on Tuesday following the confirmation stage.Ante-post favourite Melon is one of 10 possibles for trainer Willie Mullins in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on Tuesday, the opening race of the 2017 Cheltenham Festival.Tuesday 7 March – 7 DAYS TO GOClerk of the course Simon Claisse does not expect any significant changes to ground conditions with the Cheltenham Festival now just over a week away. The going is currently described as good to soft on the Old Course, which is used on the Tuesday and Wednesday, and good to soft, good in places on the New Course for Thursday and Friday. “The forecast remains unsettled, with bits and pieces of rain coming in during the course of the next week amounting to somewhere between nine and 11 millimetres,” said Claisse.Mark Walsh is set to partner Yanworth in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival next Tuesday.Peace And Co has not been entered for Saturday’s Imperial Cup at Sandown and will head straight for the Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.Monday 6 March – 8 DAYS TO GODjakadam and Yorkhill please Willie Mullins after racing at Leopardstown in pre-festival gallops. He said of Gold Cup hope Djakadam “He has not run since Christmas, but I think he is best when fresh and I was very pleased with him there today.”Waiting Patiently is making connections do just that as a small setback has ruled him out of the Cheltenham Festival. Trainer Malcolm Jeffersonn said: “He’s just got a slight niggle so we are waiting patiently, for Aintree all being well.”Trainer Noel Meade reports his two main hopes for the Cheltenham Festival, Disko and A Genie In Abottle, to be in tip-top condition with just over a week to go to the big meeting.Sunday 5 March – 9 DAYS TO GOKim Bailey insists “now is not the time to experiment” as Charbel gears up for a daunting rematch with Altior.Nicky Richards is preparing Simply Ned for a second crack at the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham.Remiluc could give trainer Chris Gordon a Cheltenham Festival runner after initiating a double for the trainer with victory in the Supporting Greatwood Handicap Hurdle at Newbury.Saturday 4 March – 10 DAYS TO GOHarry Fry is not yet in a position to confirm who will replace the sidelined Barry Geraghty aboard Unowhatimeanharry.David Pipe seems likely to wait until the final declaration stage to confirm Moon Racer’s target at the Cheltenham Festival.Alan King is readying a typically strong team of four-year-olds for the Cheltenham Festival, headed by Master Blueyes.Friday 3 March – 11 DAYS TO GOConey Island, a leading fancy for the RSA and JLT Novices’ Chase, has been ruled out of Cheltenham after a setback.Rich Ricci appears to have cooled over of the prospects of supplementing Limini into the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham later this month.ITV Racing weather forecaster Lucy Verasamy expects Cheltenham to receive further rain over the coming days and has forecast possibile frost and fog during the festival.Thursday 2 March – 12 DAYS TO GOEmerging Force, around 16/1 for the JT McNamara National Hunt Chase, will not run, trainer Harry Whittington has revealed.Neil Mulholland has warned ground conditions will dictate which race Shantou Village contests at the Cheltenham Festival.Alan King hopes to have a jockey in place to ride leading Champion Hurdle contender Yanworth by the weekend.Wednesday 1 March – 13 DAYS TO GOGordon Elliott is keen to know the handicapper’s assessment of The Storyteller ahead of a tilt at the Martin Pipe.Colin Tizzard has reiterated that Thistlecrack will not run in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup.Gordon Elliott is planning to send a team of around 30 horses for the Cheltenham Festival.Tuesday 28 February – 14 DAYS TO GOWillie Mullins expects Ruby Walsh to side with Melon in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.Willie Mullins appears increasingly keen to “take a punt” with Limini by supplementing her for the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.My Mate Mark will be a first Cheltenham Festival runner for Newmarket trainer Martin Smith when he contests the Champion Bumper.Monday 27 February – 15 DAYS TO GOBarry Geraghty will miss this year’s Cheltenham Festival after it emerged the injuries he sustained at Kempton on Saturday were more severe than first thought.Gary Moore admits Sire De Grugy will have to start showing a bit more on the gallops at home before he is seen back on the track. He has entries in both the Champion Chase and Johnny Henderson Grand Annual.Tombstone, winner of the Grade 3 Red Mills Hurdle at Gowran Park on his most recent start, is to be supplemented for the Champion Hurdle.Sunday 26 February – 16 DAYS TO GOBarry Geraghty is “hopeful” he will still be able to ride at the Cheltenham Festival despite being injured in a fall.Nicky Henderson expressed his delight after Brain Power, Peace And Co and Josses Hill took part in a racecourse workout at Kempton.Alan King admits Yanworth will have to improve on his recent Wincanton win if he is to make his presence felt in the Champion Hurdle.Saturday 25 February – 17 DAYS TO GOSeveral Festival hopes are in action on Saturday including the Nicky Henderson trained Charli Parcs in the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton before an intended engagement in the Triumph Hurdle.Meanwhile in Ireland Landofhopeandglory is hoping to strengthen his own Triumph Hurdle claims with a win in the Winning Fair Juvenile Hurdle at 1.45pm.Early birds at Kempton could glean some Cheltenham Festival clues, with Nicky Henderson working some of his team before racing. Brain Power, Josses Hill and Peace And Co are all expected to exercise at 12.30pm.Friday 24 February – 18 DAYS TO GOSupplementing Limini for the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival “has to be thought about”, said Willie Mullins.Lizzie Kelly is set to be the first woman to ride in the Timico Gold Cup for 33 years onboard Tea For Two.Thursday’s Thurles winner Tin Soldier holds multiple engagements at the Cheltenham Festival, but is unlikely to make the trip to Prestbury Park.Thursday 23 February – 19 DAYS TO GOGraeme McPherson expects Ami Desbois to outrun his price in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.Nicky Henderson has raised the possibility of Noel Fehily being reunited with Buveur D’Air in the Champion Hurdle.Nicky Henderson believes Un De Sceaux will be almost unbeatable in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival should conditions be in his favour.Wednesday 22 February – 20 DAYS TO GOLimini pounced to beat Apple’s Jade in the Quevega Mares Hurdle at Punchestown. Apple’s Jade was sent off a 2/5 favourite for the Listed contest over two and a half miles, with Limini an easy-to-back 3/1 chance on her return from a 298-day absence.Harry Fry is no closer to deciding which race his star youngster Neon Wolf will contest at next month’s Cheltenham Festival. The unbeaten runner could could either line up in the Supreme or the longer Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle at Prestbury Park.Ground conditions will be key in deciding whether Acapella Bourgeois will contest the RSA Chase at Cheltenham. Trainer Sandra Hughes said: “I’m training him for Cheltenham and I might even travel him, but he won’t run unless the ground is soft.”
ShareMedia Advisory Nobel Laureate Robert Curl to Deliver Public LectureRice chemistry professor Robert Curl will deliver a lecture on fullerenes onTuesday, March 25, at 8 p.m., in the Grand Hall of the Rice Memorial Center(RMC).Curl, who shares the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, will discuss “TheAstounding Fullerenes: An Adventure in Science.” In terms that a lay audiencecan understand, Curl will describe the discovery, which was made in 1985 withfellow laureates Richard Smalley of Rice and Harold Kroto of England.Curl will describe their efforts to prove their hypothesis to demonstrate howscience works. Also, he will discuss research efforts being made to findpractical applications for fullerenes.The Rice Memorial Center (RMC) is located at the corner of Alumni Drive andLoop Road, and can be accessed by taking Entrance 13 off of Rice Boulevard.Parking is available directly across from the RMC.Because the lecture is sold out, reporters should contact either MichaelCinelli or Lia Unrau in the Rice University News Office before attending thelecture. Contact numbers: (713) 831-4794 (Cinelli); (713) 831-4793 (Unrau). ### AddThis
ShareCONTACT: Jade Boyd PHONE: 713-348-6778 E-MAIL: email@example.com USC, Rice to develop bacteria-powered fuel cellsDoD funds research project to build power source for tiny drones A diverse team of microbiologists, engineers and geochemists from the University of Southern California and Rice University are joining forces to create bacteria-powered fuel cells that could power spy drones that fit in the palm of a hand. The Air Force has long been interested in micro-scale air vehicles – some as small as insects – but it has been stymied by the lack of a suitable, compact power source. With $4.4 million from the Department of Defense’s Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative, or MURI, the USC and Rice research team hopes to prove its concept valid within five years by producing a self-propelled prototype. At Rice, geochemist Andreas Lüttge will spearhead the team’s efforts to understand how the bacteria Shewanella oneidensis attach to and interact with anode surfaces inside the fuel cell. Anodes are the parts of fuel cells and batteries that gather excess electrons for harvesting. To optimize its design, the team must understand how bacteria transfer electrons to anode surfaces under a variety of conditions. “There are three primary components in the system: the bacteria, the surface and the solution that the bacteria are digesting,” said Lüttge, associate professor of earth science and chemistry. “Any change in one variable will affect the other two, and what we want to do is find out how to tweak each one to optimize the performance of the whole system.” Lüttge’s participation in the program grew out of a decade-long collaboration with principal investigator Kenneth Nealson, USC’s Wrigley Chair in Environmental Studies and Professor of Earth Sciences and Biological Sciences. Nealson helped pioneer the field of modern geobiology and the investigation of the genetic pathways that some microbes rely upon to maintain their respiratory metabolism in oxygen-poor environments. Shewanella oneidensis, one such bacterium, uses metals instead of oxygen to fully metabolize its food. “Since this organism is capable of passing electrons directly to solid metal oxides, it is not particularly surprising that it can do the same to the anode of the fuel cell, and since we are already in the business of understanding and optimizing the metal reduction capacity, it seemed a reasonable step to apply the same approaches to understanding current production,” Nealson said. “What is new here is the incorporation of colleagues in chemistry, geology, engineering, and evolutionary biology to optimize the entire system, not just the bacteria.” In the fuel cell study, Lüttge will use computer models to estimate how the bacteria will behave under different circumstances. Running tests on the computer will save time and money by allowing laboratory experiments to focus on best candidate approaches. “One of the hallmarks of our approach is the vigorous feedback between our computer models and our laboratory work,” said Lüttge. “The computer simulations help us perform better experiments, and the laboratory tests help us design better simulation, and the overall combination saves time and money.” In addition to the computational modeling, Lüttge will contribute his experimental skills in an imaging technique called Vertical Scanning Interferometry. The technique, which he helped create in the 1990s, combines information from multiple beams of light to resolve sample features as small as one-billionth of a meter. In previous studies with Nealson, Lüttge used the technique to examine how the cigar-shaped Shewanella attach themselves to crystalline surfaces. The researchers found that Shewanella would lay flat and orient themselves relative to minute defects in the crystal’s surface. “We still have a lot to learn about the chemical cues that the Shewanella use – both individually and in colonies – but they are incredibly efficient at converting organic inputs to electricity, so we are confident that they’ll be a great candidate for our fuel cells,” Lüttge said. AddThis
FacebookTwitterPrintEmailAddThis ShareCONTACT: Jade BoydPHONE: 713-348-6778E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.orgScientists develop low-cost, ‘green’ antimicrobial paintRice, CCNY research appears in March issue of Nature MaterialsResearchers at Rice University and the City College of New York (CCNY) have developed a low-cost, environmentally friendly technique for embedding antimicrobial silver nanoparticles into vegetable oil-based paints. The research, which is available online and slated to appear in the March issue of Nature Materials, could provide homes and workplaces a new defense against germs via the application of a fresh coat of paint.“The simplicity of the process and economics should allow us to commercialize these paints as a versatile coating material for health and environmental applications,” said study co-author Pulickel Ajayan, Rice’s Benjamin M. and Mary Greenwood Anderson Professor in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science.Silver’s antibacterial properties have been known for thousands of years, and silver nanoparticles offer superior antibacterial activity while being non-toxic. However, coatings containing antimicrobial agents have failed commercially in the past due to their complex, multi-step preparation methods and high cost of production.The CCNY-Rice team developed a “green chemistry” approach to synthesize metal nanoparticles in common household paints in situ without using hazardous reagents and solvents.“We extensively worked on poly-unsaturated hydrocarbon chain-containing polymers to devise a novel approach to nanoparticle formation,” said lead author George John, professor of chemistry at CCNY.Polyunsaturated hydrocarbons undergo auto-oxidation-induced cross-linking, which is similar to lipid peroxidation, the process by which fatty acids are oxidized in biological systems. During this process a variety of chemically active species called ‘free radicals’ are generated. These were used by the group as a tool to prepare metal nanoparticles in situ in the oil medium.“Using the same approach we should be able to produce a large variety of nano-particle dispersions useful in applications ranging from healthcare to catalysis,” added co-investigator Ashavani Kumar, a postdoctoral research associate at Rice.The nanoparticle embedded coating can be applied like traditional paints to such surfaces as metal, wood, polymers, glass, and ceramics. The metal nanoparticles show characteristic color but avoid the use of short shelf-life organic pigment paints.In addition, these coatings exhibited efficient antibacterial activity toward Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). The antibacterial property is important for hospitals and other public buildings that are prone to bacterial growth, a main cause of infection and disease.“We have been working on developing various in situ methods for organic soft matter-mediated metal nanoparticle synthesis,” said Praveen Kumar Vemula, one of the investigators. “However, to date, the present approach is the smartest as it is devised based on utilization of naturally occurring process.”