The minister for disabled people appears to have a

first_imgThe minister for disabled people appears to have announced plans for a major expansion of the Motability car scheme for disabled people, which for the first time would allow people with lower mobility support needs to lease a vehicle.The scheme has previously only allowed disabled people claiming the higher rate of mobility support – under disability living allowance (DLA) and its replacement, personal independence payment (PIP) – to use that benefit to lease a Motability vehicle.But Penny Mordaunt appeared to announce this week – in a move likely to shock disabled activists and disability organisations – that ministers were now poised to extend eligibility to join Motability to more disabled people, such as those on the standard mobility rate of PIP.There was confusion about the announcement, though, because recipients of the standard mobility rate receive only £21.80 per week, compared with £57.45 a week for recipients of the higher, enhanced rate.That is unlikely to cover the cost of leasing a new car, as well as insurance, servicing, repairs, maintenance, breakdown assistance and fitting adaptations, all of which are covered by the Motability scheme.Mordaunt made the announcement yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon as she responded to a debate* on employment and support allowance (ESA) and personal independence payment (PIP) secured by the SNP’s Angela Crawley.The minister told MPs that the transition from DLA to PIP had been a “challenging time for individuals” and that ministers were “aware of how difficult that situation is” for disabled people “told that you will lose your vehicle with only a few weeks to make alternative arrangements”.Mordaunt (pictured) then announced measures that seemed to be aimed at helping three groups of Motability customers: those appealing against losing their entitlement to higher rate mobility support; those who leave the country for more than 13 weeks, for example to study or take a sabbatical; and those who do not qualify for higher-rate mobility support.Currently, DLA or PIP claimants have to hand their vehicles back to Motability if they lose their eligibility for the enhanced rate of mobility support after a PIP assessment, even if they decide to appeal against that decision.But Mordaunt said: “We have been discussing with relevant departments ways to enable PIP claimants to keep their vehicle pending appeal, and are exploring potential options to allow those who are not in receipt of the higher [mobility] component to have access to the Motability scheme.“I am also exploring how claimants who are out of the country for extended periods can be better supported.“We have a plan, and Treasury’s blessing, and this week I have written to Motability to ask for their help to deliver it.“I anticipate it will require some changes to their processes, but I know as they have done in the past that they will do all they can to help us in this matter.”She also pointed out that Motability had already provided a £175 million package of support for DLA claimants who have lost their eligibility for the higher rate of mobility support – and can therefore no longer lease a Motability vehicle – after being reassessed for PIP.This package includes a one-off payment of £2,000 for those who joined the scheme before January 2013.Mordaunt’s announcements are likely to be a response to mounting concerns about the impact of the move from DLA to PIP on tens of thousands of Motability customers.In July, Disability News Service (DNS) revealed that disabled people were being forced to hand back their Motability vehicles at a rate of up to 700 a week after PIP assessments.Motability expects 35,000 vehicles to be handed back by disabled people during 2016 as a result of the government’s programme to reassess working-age DLA claimants for PIP.Of customers who had been reassessed for PIP, Motability’s figures showed that 44 per cent of them had lost their entitlement to the scheme and had had to return their vehicle.Mordaunt’s announcement may also have been designed to try to head off some of the criticism of the impending cut of £30-a-week to payments made to claimants placed in the employment and support allowance work-related activity group.She had already announced to the work and pensions committee, earlier in the week, that she was working on urgent plans to cut the living costs faced by disabled people on out-of-work disability benefits, which appear to involve attempts to cut their “non-work-related costs”, such as energy, broadband and phone bills.Mordaunt’s announcement appeared to have taken both Motability and DWP’s press office by surprise.A Motability spokeswoman told DNS: “Motability will be having discussions with the minister on various subjects over the coming weeks.”A DWP spokeswoman said: “We continually review all of our programmes, and are currently looking at aspects of the Motability scheme to determine whether any improvements can be made.“There have been no decisions on any changes to the scheme.”*Her announcements are made from 3.56pm onwardslast_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… Liberal Democrats have called for an end to “discriminatory” laws that allow people with mental health conditions or learning difficulties who have capacity to make their own decisions to be detained against their will.Current mental health legislation means that a person assessed as needing urgent medical treatment and assessment because of a “mental disorder” can be detained in hospital against their will.But party members argued that detaining people based on whether they have a “mental disorder” was discriminatory, a breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and discouraged people from being open about their mental health.Party members voted at their annual conference in Brighton this week to demand sweeping reform of the law in England and Wales, despite substantial opposition.They agreed that people with mental health conditions or learning difficulties should not be forced to have medical treatment unless they do not have the capacity to make a decision about whether they wish to have that treatment.And they said that people should be able to make advance decisions – as defined in the Mental Capacity Act – to refuse detention or treatment.They also fended off efforts from some party members to amend the motion so that individuals could be forced to be treated and detained, even if they had capacity, if their refusal would pose a serious risk of harm to themselves or others.One delegate compared the current legislation to historic witchcraft and slavery laws, and the Spanish Inquisition.He and others argued that people who have capacity to make their own decisions, but have a mental health condition or learning difficulty, should not face the possibility of being detained against their wishes in hospital.Henry Jones (pictured, proposing the motion), who has a degenerative neurological condition, described how he had been held against his will in hospital for six months.He had spoken at the time of wanting to end his own life because of his condition, and as a result “two large men showed up at my home” and took him into detention in a locked mental health ward.He told delegates: “Even with my condition I had capacity. They treated me like an animal, they did everything they could to break me.“It achieved nothing except to make me never ever want to engage with mental health services.”But, he said, it did “make me want to reform the law before passing on”.He said that if he had been treated “like a human” by mental health professionals he could have “talked openly about what was happening in my brain… it would have saved me and others around me four years of hell”.He added: “All I am asking for is for us to have the same basic human dignity that other people have.”Another party member, Andrew Muir, told the conference how his wife had been sectioned in 2006 after she complained about treatment she had received at a Scottish hospital.She was forced to take medication while in detention for 51 days – when there was no evidence of mental ill-health – and was physically abused by staff, and then forced to take drugs for another year when she was released on a community order.He also said that the review of the Mental Health Act 1983 – being led by psychiatrist Professor Sir Simon Wessely – should instead be led by a human rights expert.Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton also spoke in favour of the motion.He said: “In Scotland – and I am sure south of the border – we are stripping people of their basic right to be heard.“People in the grip of mental illness, that’s when their human rights matter most.”A string of mental health professionals spoke against the motion, including one who accused it of “muddle” and being “full of misconceptions”, and another who said it was “unworkable and not sensible” and would remove protections that were available in the Mental Health Act.But one psychiatrist, Mohsin Khan, who supported the motion, pointed out that similar laws to those suggested had been introduced in some US states and Northern Ireland.He said the motion “merely brings mental health in line with what happens with physical health”, and would allow adults “who have consistent, long-term capacity to rationally decide to make decisions for their own body for the future”.last_img read more

CASTLEFORD come to Langtree Park tonight seeking t

first_imgCASTLEFORD come to Langtree Park tonight seeking their first summer era away win at the Saints.In the 15 visits they made to Knowsley Road between 1996 and 2010, the Tigers were defeated on 14 occasions – with a 32-32 draw on September 13 1998.The Tigers have also lost at Anfield (1997), Widnes (2011) and six times at Langtree Park since 2012.Castleford’s last win at St Helens was 12-8 in the third round of the Regal Trophy on December 19, 1992 – and their last league win was 29-16 on October 21, 1990.Last Ten Meetings:Castleford 20, St Helens 30 (SLR13, 1/5/16)St Helens 28, Castleford 22 (SLR4, 4/3/16)Castleford 38, St Helens 42 (SLS8-R5, 10/9/15)Castleford 25, St Helens 24 (SLR19, 18/6/15)St Helens 21, Castleford 14 (SLR3, 27/2/15)St Helens 41, Castleford 0 (SLQPO, 19/9/14)St Helens 38, Castleford 16 (SLR17, 22/6/14)Castleford 28, St Helens 30 (SLR8, 11/4/14)Castleford 24, St Helens 40 (SLR21, 7/7/13)St Helens 48, Castleford 18 (SLR10, 1/4/13)Super League Summary:St Helens won 37 (includes wins in 1999 and 2014 play-offs)Castleford won 5High and Lows:1 drawSt Helens highest score: 72-4 (A, 2006) (also widest margin)Castleford highest score: 36-22 (H, 2002) (Widest margin: 35-16, H, 1997)Head to Head (Regular Season): SaintsCastlefordTries103116Goals8991Metres29,62830,337Breaks125155Tackles7,6937,856Penalties192191Career and Club Milestones Involving Tonight’s Teams:James Roby needs three tries to reach a career century of touchdowns. He has touched down 90 times for St Helens since 2004, to go with 7 tries for England (2008-2013 & 2015). He also has non-scoring appearances for Great Britain (2006-2007).Denny Solomona needs three tries to equal the Castleford seasonal record, set by the late St John Ellis in 1993-94.Ellis touched down 40 times in 41 games for the club in that campaign, while Solomona has scored 37 tries in 26 games this season.Luke Gale needs seven points to reach 500 for Castleford. His total of 493 has been reached with 18 tries, 209 goals and 3 field goal in 56 games for the Tigers since 2015.Super League Milestones:(Players reaching significant figures in Super League games only, including play-offs & Super League Super 8s)Denny Solomona needs one try to equal Lesley Vainikolo’s regular season record for tries scored. He has touched down 35 times in 2016, to close in on Vainikolo’s total of 36, set in 2004.Three tries will also see Solomona equal the overall seasonal Super League record shared by Vainikolo and Danny McGuire, who each finished the 2004 campaign on 38 tries after that year’s play-offs and Grand Final.Solomona’s hat-trick against Wakefield last weekend also set a new Super League record for try trebles in a single season. It was his sixth hat-trick of the year, surpassing Lesley Vainikolo’s five – scored in 2004.Kyle Amor – 1 appearance away from 150 (3 for Leeds, 2010; 74 for Wakefield, 2011-2013 and 72 for St Helens, 2014-2016)Try-Scoring Runs:Castleford’s Denny Solomona (3-1-3), have all scored tries in their sides’ last three matches.First Utility Super League Leading Scorers:(League games & Super 8s)Tries:1 Denny Solomona (Castleford Tigers) 352 Corey Thompson (Widnes Vikings) 233 Jodie Broughton (Catalans Dragons) 194 = Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants), Ryan Atkins (Warrington Wolves) 176 = Ben Currie (Warrington Wolves), Josh Charnley (Wigan Warriors) 168 = Jamie Shaul (Hull FC), Fetuli Talanoa (Hull FC), Adam Swift (St Helens), Dominic Manfredi (Wigan Warriors) 14Goals:1 Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers) 1052 Marc Sneyd (Hull FC) 1043 Kurt Gidley (Warrington Wolves) 824 Liam Finn (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats) 785 = Pat Richards (Catalans Dragons), Matty Smith (Wigan Warriors) 697 Luke Walsh (St Helens) 608 Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants) 569 Rhys Hanbury (Widnes Vikings) 5510 Gareth O’Brien (Salford Red Devils) 51Goals Percentage:1 Declan Patton (Warrington Wolves) 100.00 (10/10)2 Jordan Lilley (Leeds Rhinos) 84.37 (27/32)3 Thomas Bosc (Catalans Dragons) 84.21 (16/19)4 Marc Sneyd (Hull FC) 83.87 (104/124)5 Luke Walsh (St Helens) 81.08 (60/74)6 Kurt Gidley (Warrington Wolves) 78.84 (82/104)7 Mark Percival (St Helens) 77.77 (28/36)8 Liam Sutcliffe (Leeds Rhinos) 76.74 (33/43)9 Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers) 76.64 (105/137)10 = Jamie Ellis (Huddersfield Giants), Ken Sio (Hull Kingston Rovers) 76.47 (13/17)Points:1 Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers) 2362 Marc Sneyd (Hull FC) 2293 Kurt Gidley (Warrington Wolves) 1884 Pat Richards (Catalans Dragons) 1745 Liam Finn (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats) 1646 = Rhys Hanbury (Widnes Vikings), Matty Smith (Wigan Warriors) 1588 Denny Solomona (Castleford Tigers) 1409 = Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants), Luke Walsh (St Helens) 132last_img read more

SAINTS would like to pass on their best wishes and

first_imgSAINTS would like to pass on their best wishes and thanks to all the players that are leaving the Club at the end of the season.Chairman Eamonn McManus said: “It is always hard when a player leaves the Saints as they have become part of the culture we have at the club.“All these players have represented the Saints professionally and we wish them all the best for the future.”Jordan Turner has joined Canberra Raiders on a two-year contract. The 27-year-old Grand Final winner scored 200 points for the Saints following his signing from Hull FC in 2012.Travis Burns will play for the Wynnum Manly Seagulls next season. He played 34 times for the club, scoring 72 points, before moving to Leigh on loan earlier in the year.Luke Walsh is returning home to Australia after three years with the Saints. The half back played 64 times for the club, scoring 466 points.Lama Tasi has left the club to move on to pastures new. He played in 19 games since signing from Salford in 2015. The forward had previously been with Sydney Roosters and Brisbane Broncos. He has re-joined the Red Devils.As previously reported, Atelea Vea has moved to Leigh Centurions on a two-year deal. The 29-year-old makes the move after two seasons with the Saints, having previously been with London Broncos.Andre Savelio has joined Warrington on a one-year contract. The 21-year-old made 42 appearances for the club following his debut in 2014. He’s also played for England’s Under 16s and 18s and toured Australia with the Academy in 2011.Earlier in the season, Matty Dawson joined Leigh Centurions and will play for them in Super League. He moved for a five figure transfer fee and played 50 times for the Saints before joining his new club.Shannon McDonnell has left the club to return home to Australia where he will be involved with real estate. He made 56 appearances in two spells for the Saints, scoring 15 tries.Lewis Charnock has joined Barrow on a two-year contract. The 22-year-old played six times for the Saints and made his debut against Salford in 2013. He scored two tries and kicked eight goals in the Red V.Olly Davies is set to move to a Championship club. The forward played twice in the first team for the Saints as well as captaining the Reserves in 2016.Matt Haggarty is also set to join a Championship club. The forward has been on loan with Dewsbury and Salford since joining the club in 2015 – and on dual registration with Rochdale and North Wales Crusaders.Finally, Levy Nzoungou has joined Melbourne Storm U20s. He signed from Toulouse after impressing on trial. He also played three games for the Toulouse first team before opting to link up with the Saints.Saints have signed Luke Douglas, Adam Walker, Ryan Morgan and Matty Smith so far ahead of the 2017 season.last_img read more

Fans will see a blend of youth and experience in J

first_imgFans will see a blend of youth and experience in Justin Holbrook’s side with the likes of Theo Fages and Danny Richardson appearing alongside Matty Costello, James Bentley and eight top age players from our Academy system.Mark Aston’s team are further into their pre-season fixture programme and will put out a strong squad that will include new signing and USA Hawks captain Mark Offerdahl.Matty Fozard and Oli Davies will also face their former teammates whilst fans will no doubt be familiar with the likes of Jordan Tansey too.“I am excited,” Aston said earlier in the week. “We’re in that transition where we’ve got rid of players and fetched some new ones in and hopefully we can start developing them and this culture within the group.“It will be good to see where we’re at against a team who will play quick. It will be good to get out there, have a go and see where we are.”Squads:Saints: Aaron Smith, Adam Swift, Alex Eckley, Ben Morris, Callum Hazard, Cameron Brown, Chris Follin, Danny Richardson, Dominique Peyroux, Jack Ashworth, Jake Spedding, James Bentley, John Hutchings, Jorge Lewtas, Josh Eaves, Kevin Brown, Kyle Amor, Liam Cooper, Mathew Costello, Matty Lees, Matty Smith, Regan Grace, Rob Fairclough, Ryan Morgan, Theo Fages, Tom Nisbet.Sheffield: Ben Blackmore, Blake Broadbent, Daniel Igbinedion, Greg Burns, Iliess Macani, Jon Magrin, Jordan Tansey, Josh Toole, Kieran Moran, Mark Offerdahl, Matt James, Matty Fozard, Max Garcia, Oliver Davies, Oscar Thomas, Ryan Millar, Shaun Pick, Tom McGretton.The game kicks off at 3.30pm at Ruskin Sports Village and we will provide the best coverage we possibly can over at @saints1890 on Twitter.We will also make extended highlights available as soon as possible after the game.last_img read more

Cape Fear Community College to close Monday evening

first_img The 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony is canceled from Tuesday.CFCC will provide information and updates on the CFCC website, social media sites at the CFCC Emergency Information hotline (1-877-799-2322) and to local news media outlets. 00:00 00:00 html5: Video file not found spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% Surf City will not resume dune restoration until November2:24Gov. Cooper tours Fair Bluff Fire Station, talks hurricane recovery0:55School supply giveaway aims to help those affected by Florence1:41Northside Pool repairs almost complete0:30Support the Port among winners of disaster recovery grant0:56Vet receives a free roof after losing one to Florence0:55HOPE NC INTERVIEW3:25Hampstead woman loses home in Florence, surprised with help 10 months later2:04Tropical Integrated Warning Team meeting helps agencies prepare during hurricane season1:56US 421 bridge work continues after Florence washout0:47Teens help those affected by Hurricane Florence, Matthew2:08Florence victims face 100-degree days in FEMA trailers1:04Volunteers desperately needed to assist with building efforts after Hurricane Florence3:39Hurricane shifts sand in coastal waters, could increase swimming threats2:13First responders join WARM in hurricane recovery efforts0:59Oak Island Pier set to reopen Wednesday0:25Oceanic Restaurant ready to dive in on Mother’s Day0:30Possible return date for Jervay community released2:18New Hanover Schools hourly employees won’t get paid for five days2:14Hurricane Recovery round table gives residents access to mroe help post-Florence2:10Brunswick Town Historic Site museum reopens Saturday1:00Wilmington man meets paramedics who saved his life hours before hurricane2:20Rep. David Rouzer talks Mueller report, storm recovery4:24Spruce up your yard at annual spring plant sale in Burgaw0:47RESIDE Disaster Relief Shelter holds rubbon cutting0:54Students say “Thank you” to first responders1:25AG sues Florida tree removal company for alleged price gouging in Wilmington2:14’Cross Creek Hero’ continues to lend a helping hand2:17USO shows appreciation to the coast guard, shutdown, hurricane0:52Proposed tax credit could assist repairs for historic homes in disaster zones2:04Two New Hanover schools to move into new buildings next month1:26NC students write book about experience with Hurricane Florence1:22Luncheon highlights ’growth and transformation’ in downtown Wilmington0:32Gov. Roy Cooper says downtown Wilmington ’revitalized’ after Florence2:02Community rolls together to get topsail beach skating rink back open after storm1:36Cape Fear Garden Club plants the seed for Airlie Gardens’ Florence recovery0:57Wilmington firefighters honored for rescue during Hurricane Florence1:50Rep. David Rouzer talks rebuilding damaged dike in Bladen County1:40Fix to Kelly dike system still in limbo following community conversation2:13Neighbors fight to stop construction of ’essential’ hospital water system2:31County, city still waiting on millions in Florence reimbursement1:51Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo talks Florence recovery 6 months after storm1:51Boiling Spring Lakes: Only 40% of recovery completed since historic hurricane2:26Owner moves to new location after Florence wipes out iconic restaurant1:06Pender community surfs its way to recovery months after storm1:27ONLY ON WWAY: Gov. Cooper gives recovery update six months post-Florence7:42’This is a miracle’: Whitestocking community gets help to rebuild church2:19Bethlehem Baptist Church is on the road to recovery after Florence1:22800+ Pender students still displaced several months after historic hurricane1:58Are some homes worth the renovation after Hurricane Florence?1:17Free seeds offer easier start to families replanting0:54Cape Fear Volunteer Center needs help moving Florence survivors into new homes0:53Florence survivor finds new housing, not out of the woods yet0:31Rebuild continues almost 6 months since Hurricane Florence1:35Rebuild continues almost 6 months since Hurricane Florence2:19Florence destroys Pender County farm, help comes from across country2:07How can we improve for next time? Pender reviews storm response to Florence1:40USS Battleship North Carolina continues to battle Mother Nature1:54Will Carolina Beach businesses reopen in time for start of season?2:05FEMA assistance starts to end, Florence victims still without homes2:07New Hanover County issues Hurricane Florence after action report1:22Veteran forced out of garage after Florence moves into camper0:31Gov. Cooper proposes funding aimed to help schools recovering from Florence1:44Florence clean up efforts ongoing1:54Pender Co. ends Hurricane Florence state of emergency0:16Volunteers needed to clean up Ev-Henwood Nature Preserve in Leland0:30University breaks ground on new student housing0:57Topsail Island is back open post-Florence1:38Barfield: ’State of the county is strong’2:17Habitat breaks ground on 4 new homes in Wilmington0:54Volunteer attorneys could help homeowners denied help from FEMA4:06Pro bono FEMA clinic for those affected by Hurricane Florence4:06First ever pender county state of education and economy held in burgaw1:52Wrightsville Beach restaurant closed since Florence starts rehiring staff0:53Hurricane Florence victims can still apply for disaster mitigation0:55Are you ready for breakfast?1:00Historic grounds reopens after shutdown1:27Hurricane Florence recovery summit brings survivors together1:31New Wrightsville Beach school planned with storms, floods in mind0:33TX official offers affordable housing advice after experiencing Hurricane Harvey1:04Whitestocking residents welcome truckload of donations from Pennsylvania3:06FEMA hosting meeting to address flood mitigation questions, concerns3:39University still repairing classrooms and apartments four months after hurricane0:30Cooper to Trump: End shutdown so NC can rebuild after Hurricane Florence0:33Experts say affordable housing is in more trouble following Florence0:58Stranger drives across country to reunite NC boy fighting cancer with his dog2:19Will a $2M flood plan save the Battleship North Carolina parking lot?1:05Woman says Florence damage is severely affecting her health1:54When you can learn more about applying for buyouts on flood-prone homes0:25Pender County students to receive free meals through January 310:20Animal aid group says majority of supplies lost after theft1:02Duke energy wants customers to help with $760m storm cost0:44Find out how you can help the environment by getting rid of your Christmas tree1:02New study researches how Hurricane Florence could have impacted pregnancies2:16Ward gives back to his community during the holidays1:32Gov. Cooper reflects on efforts to rebuild following Hurricane Florence3:14Gov. Cooper: 2018 was a tough year for North Carolina2:37Man designs ornaments made from Florence debris0:38Businesses team up to host Hurricane Florence recovery fundraiser0:56Rain lowers ’Christmas on the Square’ turnout0:54XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settings WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Cape Fear Community College will be closed at all campus locations for students, faculty and most staff members beginning Monday at 5 p.m. through Saturday due to the threat of Hurricane Florence.All events on CFCC campuses, as well as student events, athletic events, practices and related activities have been canceled.- Advertisement – last_img read more

WPD Validated gang member sold drugs near school

first_img Police say they found trafficking amounts of heroin, drug paraphernalia, marijuana, MDMA (Ecstasy) and more than $5,000.Clarida was charged with trafficking heroin, maintaining a dwelling to sell and deliver controlled substances, sell and deliver controlled substances within 1000 feet of a school, possession of marijuana, possession of MDMA, and possession of drug paraphernalia.WPD says Clarida was also wanted by NC Probation-Parole for violating his parole on a previous drug charge sentence.Related Article: Wilmington man sentenced to 8 years in deadly home invasionHe is in the New Hanover County Jail under a $415,000 secured bond. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington Police say a validated gang member is behind bars Thursday following a month-long drug investigation.Members with the department’s Gang and Vice Units along with SWAT executed a search warrant early Thursday at 26-year-old Jarrin Anthony Clarida’s home at 1014 Love Alley.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Shutdown delays disaster relief for some NC farmers

first_imgFarmers say Hurricane Florence destroyed tobacco crops in NC. (Photo: Graham Boyd/Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina) CAPE FEAR, N.C. (AP) — The federal government shutdown is delaying disaster relief for some North Carolina farmers.The Fayetteville Observer reports the shutdown has mostly closed the federal Farm Service Agency responsible for a document required in farmer applications for state disaster relief. North Carolina set aside $240 million to assist farmers who sustained losses during Hurricane Florence and Michael last year.- Advertisement – The program is overseen by the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and applications require certifications of acreage by the Farm Service Agency. State Department of Agriculture Chief Deputy Commissioner David Smith says about 900 farmers are waiting on that certification and more than 7,000 farmers say they need the program’s help.The Farm Service Agency says it won’t be working on relief programs when some offices open Friday and Tuesday.last_img read more

Cyclist grievously injured in road accident

first_imgA cyclist has suffered from grevious injuries after being hit by a minivan in Gudja on Sunday.The road accident happened at around 6.30am in Triq l-Avjazzjoni Civili.A Police spokesperson told that the mini-van driver is a 51-year-old from Attard who hit the cyclist whilst turning around the roundabout near the Malta International Airport.The cyclist was taken to Mater Dei Hospital by ambulance where he was later certified as suffering from grievous injuries. WhatsApp <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>center_img SharePrintlast_img read more

Zambia ZICTA to Curb SIM Card Cellular Phones Crime

first_imgAdvertisement The phone serial number, which can be seen by typing star, hash the digits zero and six followed by another hash, would make it easy for the authority to trace stolen phones.With the issue of the anticipated migration from Analogue to Digital technology by June 17, 2015 that sparked murmurs from the audience during the ZICTA press conference held in Luangwa, Rufunsa and Chongwe on October 5, 6 and 7, 2011 respectively.The Digital Migration issue sparked that reaction when ZICTA consumer affairs manager Katwamba Mwansa, who was the team leader, explained that once that transition is made, Analogue television and radio sets will become useless because they will be unable to receive digital signals. – Advertisement – “Does that mean that our analogue television and radio sets will have to be disposed of?” That was the question being raised during the press conference. Mr Mwansa explained that to avoid television and radio sets being turned into white elephants owing to their analogue technology status, either one buys a decoder to be used to convert analogue signals to digital or buy digital-ready sets.He, however, clarified later after winding up the trip that, “For now, the focus is on television. We will deal with radio later. However, radio broadcasters can deploy digital transmitters and still broadcast.”He attributed the failure by some car stereos in some imported motor vehicles from countries like Japan to access other radio stations as being not compatible with analogue technology Zambia is currently using. Mr Mwansa explained that with Digital Migration, that vacuum or space currently existing when one wants to tune to another station on both radio and television will be a thing of the past.For instance, that space between television or radio stations can be filled up with five to over 10 stations.ZICTA embarked on such vigorous sensitisation programmes, particularly in rural areas across the country, following the realisation that despite its massive sensitisation, the authority was not receiving the feedback it expected. A Consumer Perceptions Survey conducted in Lusaka revealed that people in urban areas, especially in Lusaka, were more abreast with information on ZICTA than their rural counterparts.“As long as one person is educated (on ZICTA), we do derive some satisfaction,” says Mr Mwansa. It was at the same fora that murmurs were heard when the SIM and mobile phone registration besides Digital Migration matters were raised. Moreover, a majority of pupils had little or no knowledge about ZICTA.The Electronic Communications Transactions (ECT) Act No. 22 would enable the authority curb cyber crime such as internet pornography whose penalty is serving up to 10 years behind bars upon conviction.ZICTA’s other mandates are to license all operators (mobile phone, internet café, telecommunication repairers or dealers,…), facilitate access to ICTs, protect consumer rights and interests and promote competition.Mr Mwansa said owing to its regulatory role, ZICTA had scored a number of successes and cited among others the licensing of three mobile phone “powerhouses” in Airtel, MTN and Zamtel which is under the auspices of Lap Green Networks. Airtel currently commands a market share of 61 percent; MTN 35 has percent while Cell Z holds a paltry four percent though is now becoming a force to reckon with due to improved opertions. Other achievements include the licensing of over 18 Internet Service Providers (ISPs), significant reduction in mobile phone tariffs and recording of over 5 million mobile phone subscribers and the target is to reach about 8 million before 2012.ZICTA consumer protection acting manager Edgar Mlauzi said consumers have several rights such as to receive high quality services, privacy.Mobile phone service providers have no right to meddle in the affairs of their clients.Mr Mlauzi explained that consumers have the right to full disclosure of information, that is, service providers when carrying out a promotion are advised to explicitly disclose the terms and conditions of their promotion. That also includes a provision of opting out in an event that a mobile subscriber, for instance is not interested in receiving more promotional messages.On consumer responsibilities, Mr Mlauzi explained that consumers are obliged to promptly pay their bills, properly use their products and services, stressing further on the latter that mobile service providers have been complaining to ZICTA that about 30 percent of the calls made to their customer care centres were prank, thus congesting the network.Acting Luangwa District Commissioner Musole Siachisa observed that ICTs are increasingly becoming part of the people’s daily lives as in the rural context ICTs were shaping and improving the socio-economic well-being of the people in areas like community healthcare, safe drinking water and sanitation.Mr Musole cited education, maternal health and reducing child mortality, women empowerment and environmental sustainability as other areas ICTs are instrumental. “It is for the above reasons that the Government has continuously embarked on structural and legislative reforms of the sector so that Zambia can harness and take full advantage of the benefits of the ICT sector,” he said.He said the government has embarked on an ambitious programme of Universal Access Fund with most of the activities under this being the construction of community towers in remote parts of the country. Over 300 sharable towers are expected to be mounted by the end of this year.Currently, over 80 towers have already been completed and are functional and Mr Musole assured Luangwa residents that even those in far flung areas will in the near future benefit from the fund.On Digital Migration, Mr Musole said to ensure that every citizen is able to watch and continue enjoying television, the Government has instituted a national taskforce to look into the modalities of that programme.Chief Mphuka of the Chikunda-speaking people wondered why ZICTA is taking long to mount a tower in his chiefdom despite having been assured in May this year that the problem is to be rectified in three month’s time. ZICTA identified two sites with one near his palace and at Kavalamanja.Both Mr Mwansa and Mr Musole, assured the traditional leader that his outcry was going to be addressed before the end of the year. He said the project is ongoing, adding that it was costly as mounting one tower gobbled about K2 billion and that the major stumbling block to the sites is the poor road network.Once mounted, mobile service providers, television and radio stations would be encouraged to mount their transmitters there, thus reducing on their costs of installing three independent transmitters.“Infrastructure sharing reduces the cost of providing services,” says Mr Mwansa, adding that doing so makee business sense. It is unhealthy to have three different roads leading to the service provider infrastructures.Besides lack of mobile phone network, residents from all the three areas complained among other things, receiving of unsolicited text messages and Airtel’s recent introduction of the K100 tariff for its subscribers to access the details of the Missed Call Notification, the latter Mr Mwansa conceded was ZICTA’s fault for approving that charge and that it was considering reviewing it.Mr Mwansa sums up that despite the high ICT illiteracy levels identified in Luangwa, Rufunsa and Chongwe and expressing optimism that ZICTA would meet the deadline of mounting the 300 towers, “We have met our objectives. The programme was successful.”Source: allafricalast_img read more