first_imgThe occupational health expert chosen by the government to review its much-criticised “fitness for work” test appears to have suggested that the assessment should be scrapped and replaced with a radically different process.Dr Paul Litchfield, who led the fourth and fifth reviews of the work capability assessment (WCA), said the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) had been “forced into rushing the design of the WCA”, before it was introduced by the New Labour government in 2008.Litchfield, BT’s chief medical officer, was giving evidence to the Commons work and pensions committee for its inquiry into the assessment processes for personal independence payment and employment and support allowance (ESA).He was speaking just days after new figures, published by Disability News Service, showed that the proportion of people claiming out-of-work disability benefits who had attempted suicide at some point in their lives doubled between 2007 – the year before the WCA was introduced – and 2014.Litchfield (pictured, giving evidence), who was not asked about the figures by the committee, said there had been attempts to improve the WCA, but he warned: “There have been efforts to adjust it and improve it over time, but when it starts from a position which is designed as imperfect, you’re lucky if it gets more perfect, it is just as likely to get more imperfect as you adapt it.”Litchfield told the committee: “The philosophical basis of what we do as a society does need to be revisited.”He claimed that “the thinking that went into creating the current assessment” dated back at least to the early 1980s in the United States, and the WCA was simply an “evolution” of the previous assessment, the personal capability assessment.He said the WCA was designed “very quickly to meet the legislative timescales… so it wasn’t a radical redesign of a system, it was an adaptation of what was there already”.Litchfield said that the nature of work had “changed dramatically over that period” and it was now necessary to “think about as a society… how we want to distribute benefits to those who can’t work for whatever reason, and whether we want something which is specifically based on their health condition and their disability.“If we do want that we need to think about how we would design that in the context of the modern workplace and the shifting demographics and the shifting disease profile that we are seeing in the population, so I think there does need to be that fundamental thinking that goes on but that inevitably is a 10, 15-year process and you can’t rush it.”Despite those comments, disabled campaigners who have been calling for years for the WCA to be scrapped and replaced – because of its links to relapses, anxiety and distress among those with long-term health conditions, and the loss of many lives – are likely to be bemused by other remarks made by Litchfield to the committee.He suggested that much of the reason for the failure of the WCA was that it was based on a “medical model” understanding of disability, which he said was now “largely discredited”.He said that many experts were now more in favour of a “biopsychosocial model” approach.But campaigners and researchers have previously pointed out that the biopsychosocial (BPS) model crucially underpins ESA and the WCA and also played a significant role in the tightening of eligibility criteria for ESA and other disability benefits by the coalition and Tory governments.Research published last year by Professor Tom Shakespeare and Professor Nicholas Watson, and fellow academic Ola Abu Alghaib, argued that the BPS model was riddled with inconsistencies, misleading statements and “unevidenced” claims.The BPS model was developed by Dr Gordon Waddell, an orthopaedic surgeon, and Professor Sir Mansel Aylward, who was DWP’s chief medical officer from 1995 to 2005.Key to the BPS model, the three authors said last year, is the idea that “it is the negative attitudes of many ESA recipients that prevent them from working, rather than their impairment or health condition”, essentially branding many benefit claimants “scroungers”.This allows supporters of BPS – including a string of New Labour and Tory government ministers – to draw a distinction “between ‘real’ incapacity benefit claimants, with long-term and incurable health conditions, and ‘fake’ benefit claimants, with short-term illness”, with the model responsible for a “barely concealed” element of “victim-blaming”, they said.last_img read more

first_imgDisabled activists are hoping their latest protest in the heart of Westminster will empower other disabled people to follow their lead and fight the government’s social security cuts and reforms.The action by Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), which involved scores of disabled protesters, focused on calls for the government to scrap its new universal credit working-age benefit system, which is being rolled out across the country.DPAC believes universal credit has “too many flaws to be simply paused and fixed” – the solution proposed by the Labour party – and is “rotten to the core”, with foodbank use and rates of claimants being sanctioned “soaring” in areas where it has been introduced.The action saw one group of activists occupy parliament’s central lobby and attempt to interrupt prime minister’s questions in the House of Commons.After their path to the Commons chamber was blocked by five police officers, they repeatedly chanted “stop and scrap universal credit” and “benefits not bombs” as prime minister’s questions was taking place.They later joined a larger group of activists opposite the Houses of Parliament, before marching to a traffic crossing in front of the House of Commons, where they blocked the road for more than half an hour.One protester was dressed as a crime scene investigator (pictured), beside a banner which said: “#StopandScrap. Universal Credit is a Crime.”The outline of a “murder victim” placed on the road had earlier been laid on the floor of parliament’s central lobby.Andy Greene, a member of DPAC’s national steering group, said at the start of the protest that he hoped other disabled people and the public would pay attention to the action.He said: “This is about continuing to show that disabled people will not be passive recipients of these changes.“We will continue to resist them at every opportunity and represent the interests of people who cannot be here but would want to say something if they were.”But he added: “It is not enough to hear, you also have to respond, whether that is speaking to your local councillor, writing a letter to the media, calling up talk shows, taking direct action or joining a local group; whatever it is, we want people to respond.”Greene said councils were not being given the resources to cope with the results of austerity, while the voluntary sector “has had its teeth pulled in terms of capturing what is going on and being able to respond to that.“We are seeing that it is only through activism that we have been able to see any consistent, empowering response, which is why we are here today.”He said the introduction of universal credit had the potential to be the most harmful of all the government’s social security cuts and reforms, putting not only people’s income at risk but also “the roof over their head”.Disabled people are “right at the centre of that”, he said.He added: “We spoke five years ago about people’s worlds shrinking. We are now talking about people’s worlds collapsing.”At the end of the protest, Greene said he believed that years of high-profile protests by DPAC – which was formed in 2010 – had encouraged many other disabled people to take part in local and national demonstrations.He said: “That’s how I judge our success. People see themselves reflected in these demos. There is no myth, no secret. We turn up and we take part. That’s it.”Labour MP Laura Pidcock* supported the protesters as they blocked traffic outside the House of Commons, and said the action was “absolutely necessary”.She said: “Sometimes when people won’t listen, what else are people supposed to do?“I am very supportive of any demonstration when people feel a government will not listen.”She said the rollout of universal credit had begun in her North West Durham constituency in December and there had already been threats of eviction.Although she did not say she wanted to scrap universal credit, she said her party needed to “have a conversation” about how it was working.She said that people who were experiencing universal credit themselves knew the government’s claims that it would be a simpler system and would provide a faster route into work were “not true”.She said: “There has to be an overall assessment of, ‘is this the best that Britain has to offer in terms of social security?’”Marion Nisbet, of Glasgow DPAC, had travelled by train from Scotland to take part in the protest in London.She said she has been “part of the fightback” since she was asked in a work capability assessment (WCA) in 2011 why she had not killed herself, when discussing her suicidal feelings with an assessor working for the government’s contractor Atos.She said: “I walked out thinking that that was what I was going to do. I felt totally humiliated and worthless.”She said the WCA process – which is part of the universal credit system – was “nothing to do with empowering people back into employability” but was “state-sanctioned cruelty”.She said: “As an unemployed disabled worker, there is nowhere I would rather be than at my work, but we have an Equality Act that is not worth the paper it is printed on when it comes to the employability of disabled people.”She added: “I am sick and tired of watching sick and disabled people paying for the fact that the bankers ran away with the money.“This has been an ideological, financial attack on disabled people, labelling them scroungers and skivers so everybody is convinced we are all at it and [that attack] needs to happen.”Another disabled campaigner, Kay Nosae, said she had attended the demonstration because she wanted “to be doing something, to feel I have some power”, and to try to affect some of the many people walking past the protest in Westminster.She said: “It is also partly all the history of disability protest. I want to feel I am carrying on the tradition of trying to do something, not just being passive and letting other people fight for us.”Another reason she attended was because of her concerns about the removal of disability premiums in the move to universal credit.She said: “The government said that no disabled person would lose out but obviously they have.”She said she had spent days in bed before the protest and would probably spend days in bed recovering afterwards.She added: “I cannot plan for my future because I don’t know how the benefits system is going to change.”Gabriel Pepper, who took part in the lobby action, said universal credit was “a juggernaut”.He said he believed the government did not care about the impact of universal credit, and was intent on rolling it out and its harsh conditionality while closing scores of jobcentres.He said: “That combination is toxic. What do they think will happen?”Other protests as part of DPAC’s day of action against universal credit took place across the country, including actions in Manchester, York, Sheffield, Norwich and Brighton, with others planned in Truro, Birmingham, Leicester, Edinburgh and Cardigan, Wales.Among DPAC’s many concerns with universal credit are the “harsh” conditions imposed on claimants, without reasonable adjustments for disabled people; mandatory health and work conversations for disabled people; an online application process that is inaccessible to many disabled people; and the scrapping of severe and enhanced disability premiums, which are currently added to some means-tested disability benefits to help with the costs of disability.The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been insisting since 2012 that “transitional protection” would ensure that no-one moving onto universal credit would see their benefits cut in cash terms.But campaigners have remained sceptical, while also pointing out that the transitional protections will not apply if there are changes in the disabled person’s personal circumstances – for example if they move to a new home, or their relationship status changes – and will not apply to new claimants.Despite repeated requests from Disability News Service to clarify exactly how disabled people will be affected by the removal of the premiums under UC, DWP has so far been unable to do so.in less than two weeks, the high court is due to hear a judicial review of the financial impact of the introduction of universal credit on a terminally-ill man who has lost £178 per month in disability premiums after he moved back to London to receive treatment and had to claim UC for the first time.*Pidcock said she had accompanied members of DPAC to a “very frustrating” meeting on Tuesday with Sarah Newton, the minister for disabled people, about concerns about disability benefit assessments.She said Newton had been “very, very dismissive” and although the minister was considering some recommendations made by this year’s report by the Commons work and pensions committee into the assessment processes, had refused to remove the PIP assessment contracts from Atos and Capita.She said: “I know they have a certain vision of the welfare state but I thought if I could meet with them on a human level and explain how difficult it is for people… but it didn’t make a difference.”last_img read more

first_imgEmail Address Tags: crime • SFPD Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletter 0%center_img Video of the incident, shared with Mission Local, reveals about 10 officers — some armed with semi-automatic rifles — taking people out of the building, handcuffing them and making them sit on the sidewalk.“We were shocked by the number of people came out of that building,” said Dennes Hernandez, who owns and lives in the building two doors down from the alleged gambling den. He said the building’s residents — he guessed four total — would often dump their trash in other people’s bins. He said he suspected something had been going on there, but did not know exactly what. Hernandez, however, was not happy with how police treated the surrounding businesses, namely the grocery store on the ground floor of his building. It was there that police lined up the suspects in handcuffs and questioned them for nearly five hours, he said, which deterred business and created a negative perception of the store, Rincon Latino. He said the cops were not receptive to those concerns, even though he had cooperated with them.“We were doing everything to make sure it was a successful operation,” he said. “But what can we do to make sure the people who are responsible for this (the police) are held accountable?” Gambling dens in the Mission and the Excelsior have proliferated in recent years and have often eluded local law enforcement. As Mission Local reported, police raided a den in the Excelsior last October, which resulted in four arrests. In March, City Attorney Dennis Herrera sued the alleged owners of the den, asking for a court order to close the den for a year, in addition to penalties of $25,000 per defendant. “This gambling den is like a weed,” Herrera said after he filed the lawsuit. Illegal gambling dens are, indeed, difficult to bust. It took two raids to take down the Jhec of all Trades gambling den — despite the fact that police discovered cash and large amounts of suspected meth inside the building during the initial raid. A den at 2949 Mission St. — once a soda and candy shop called the Fizzary — was regularly a site of prostitution, back-alley fights and shootings. And it, too, was difficult to shut down.This site near Geneva is no exception. According to Rueca, the mere possession of the machines is no serious crime. And police aren’t always this lucky: Usually, to get into a suspected den, police need to constantly surveil a suspected spot before establishing probable cause to enter. Rueca said that often, officers will find narcotics, illegal structures, and unpermitted alcohol sales at gambling dens. But police did not find any of those things this time — hence the lack of arrests. “Rarely do we find it’s just gambling,” he said.   This time, however, it appears it was just gambling. A swarm of police officers stumbled onto an alleged illegal gambling den in the Excelsior on Sunday morning while responding to a call of a “fight involving a gun,” according to police. Police found no fights nor guns when they arrived at 5088 Mission St., near Geneva, at about 7:15 a.m., but they did discover four gambling machines, according to police spokesman Officer Robert Rueca. The accidental raid resulted in 19 people being handcuffed and questioned, and one man being cited for possession and operation of the machines. None of them were booked. last_img read more

first_imgBLACKBROOK will take on York City Knights at Langtree Park this Sunday in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup.It’s a Round Three clash that will be a massive match for one of the town’s greatest amateur clubs.So if you aren’t heading over to Hull KR to watch the Saints and need your Rugby League fix then get behind the ‘Rook’The side will feature a number of former Saints Academy players taking to the Langtree Park turf and will be a great occasion for the players and the club.Thatto Heath are also in the Third Round away at Featherstone.Everyone at Saints would like to wish both clubs all the best for the weekend – and who knows, we could be taking on either in the Fourth Round!Blackbrook v York City Knights kicks off at 3pm on Sunday April 7 and prices on the turnstiles are £10 for adults which includes up to three kids free.Concessions are £6 (over 65s and students with I.D).Blackbrook’s Mark Lee and Andy Bailey will be on BBC Radio Merseyside’s Try Time from 6pm-7pm this Thursday.last_img read more

first_imgThe club has already sold more than half its ticket allocation for the match.It will be our fourth trip to Castleford this season – after winning the most recent game between the two sides 26-12 at the Mend-a-Hose Jungle.The game will kick off at 7:45pm on Thursday September 28 with your Saints just 80 minutes away from a return to Old Trafford.Ticket DetailsTickets are now on General Sale.They are priced at £20 for adults and £12 concessions (16s and under, over 60s and full time students).Members can reserve their coach ticket for £12 with non-Members priced at £13.They leave the stadium at 4:30pm.You can buy your tickets at the Ticket Office, online at www.saintssuperstore.com and via 01744 455 052.Spectators who want seated tickets are advised to contact the Ticket Office at Castleford on 01977 552 674.Please note there are no junior swaps for this game.last_img read more

first_img Authorities identified the other victim as 23-year-old Colin Cernik. It’s not known if they knew each other, but media outlets reported the two men both were assigned to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville BURGAW, N.C. (AP) — The N.C. Highway Patrol has identified two Camp Lejeune Marines who were killed when their motorcycles collided last weekend in Pender County.Troopers told local media outlets that 23-year-old Brent Phelps was on a motorcycle they say was speeding and crossed the center line on a Pender County road and hit another motorcyclist head-on.- Advertisement – last_img read more

first_img If you know any information, you are asked to call WPD at 910-343-3600 or use Text A Tip. Man wanted in Wilmington jewelry theft (Photo: WPD) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Do you recognize this man? He is wanted in connection with the theft of more than $20,000 in jewelry.Police say it happened on March 7 at 6:20 p.m. at the Comfort Inn on South College Road.- Advertisement – last_img

first_imgThe portion of River Road has been closed in November. (Photo: WWAY) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Work to replace a bridge on New Hanover County’s River Road was supposed to wrap up this weekend but the reopening has been pushed back by about two weeks.NCDOT says the road was supposed to open Saturday, but now estimate it will open May 31.- Advertisement – DOT says they had to push back the date because weather delayed construction.The road closed in November.DOT says the new bridge over lord’s creek will have updated drainage structures to prevent ponding on the roadway, as well as washouts.last_img read more

first_img EMS transported the driver to NHRMC. Duke Energy responded just after 8:00 P.M. with crews.@WilmingtonPD telling me power could be out in the next few hours in the area of Sunset Park. @WWAY @opgridlock @kyliejoneswway pic.twitter.com/GCdgXFi6uC— Andrew James (@AndrewJamesWWAY) August 13, 2018Power is expected to be out for a few hours. Vehicle crashes into pole along Carolina Beach Road before Burnett Blvd. intersection WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – The southbound lane of Carolina Beach Rd was closed following a single vehicle crash Sunday evening.Wilmington police say a driver struck a power pole around 7:40 P.M., causing it to snap in half.- Advertisement – last_img read more

first_imgGet full election results here. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Democrat Harper Peterson has unseated Republican Michael Lee by fewer than 40 votes, based on unofficial results.Incumbent Michael Lee was looking to win a third full term in the 9th District Senate seat, but his battle with former Wilmington mayor Peterson was at times ugly.- Advertisement – The biggest issue in the campaign was GenX and water quality.It was a tight race, but Peterson edged out Lee by only 38 votes. Libertarian Ethan Bickley took 3 percent of the votes.Sen. Michael Lee released this statement Wednesday:Related Article: NCGOP leader praises media for work on Bladen County election story“Heidi and I would like to thank so many people for the outpouring of support and hard work on my behalf in this important race for our community and the place we call home.  A campaign like this requires the diligence and fortitude of many and we have been lucky to have you by our side. Thank you and please know we truly appreciate your support. We will know the outcome of this race in the coming weeks when all votes are tallied and certified in the canvass process.”center_img The vote totals are unofficial until they are canvassed later this month.last_img read more

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — School board members in New Hanover County got an earful from those in the Williston Middle School family.The board wants to turn the historic school back into a high school.- Advertisement – “We were very surprised indeed we were shocked,” said 2nd grade teacher Laura Butler before the school board Tuesday.Williston faculty and staff at Tuesday’s School Board Meeting. January 8, 2019 (Andrew James/WWAY)The Williston Tigers letting out a roar before the New Hanover county school board.“I think it’s a slap in the face,” said Florence Warren who is an alum of the original high school.Related Article: Pender Co. school administrators take part in ALICE trainingSchool board members, last week, proposed to reconfigure the middle to high school with a focus on the performing arts. Staff showed board members that the curriculum can range from computer science and web design all the way to dance and painting with courses of theatre and broadcasting in the mix.“Establishing a school for the performing arts with some of the subjects that we talked about really is something that this community can get behind,” said vice chairman David Wortman. “We hear from parents all around, in that district and in New Hanover County about the need for choice for their students.”School staff also presented survey findings during the Tuesday meeting. They showed a majority of parents county-wide surveyed were in favor of a performing arts high school.Williston middle has consistently scored low in the states performance report cards. However, for those vested in the history and current community impact, they do not see this as a solution.“We would propose that the high school they are looking at would be more geared to poly-tech where students could get the beginnings of a career,” said Warren who also taught at the high school right before it was closed in 1968.Board members approved continuing the conversation. The 5-1 vote to approved looking at Williston as a performing arts high school came not without clear friction from new members.“Right now we need to focus on redistricting we started, that they started over a year ago,”  said new member Judy Justice. “I’ll be honest with you. I don’t want to see this done to Williston in this manner. They need a voice.”Board Vice Chair David Wortman has titled the school changeover as a potential solution to easing the overcrowding issues in county high schools.“Community input in this really is important,” said Wortman.The hundreds of students there would have to go somewhere. School board members looked at several proposals to move them all to Holly Shelter, Roland-Grise and Noble Middle.The proposals also look at one grade or all grades be moved out. These will all be worked out along side middle school redistricting.last_img read more

first_imgLELAND, NC (WWAY) — Students in Caitlyn Diaz’ class get excited talking about the books they read.A UNC Wilmington graduate, Diaz is an Exceptional Children (EC) teacher at Leland Middle School.- Advertisement – “I really enjoy working with students with special needs,” Diaz said.She’s been employed at the school four years and says, at times, the workload can be demanding.“It is difficult, if you really break it down, I’m setting up about 12 different lessons everyday,” she said.Related Article: NC House agrees to repeal corporal punishment in schoolThat’s because each lesson is based on her students’ individual needs.“Academically, they’re not at a sixth-grade level, you know, they’re receiving EC services where they do function anywhere from first grade to third grade level academically,” she said.In her class, success isn’t measured by End-of-Grade tests or giant leaps, but rather incremental improvements.“I’ve got a student who was selectively mute up until coming to sixth grade and he is now talking and initiating conversations with his peers,” she said. “So, that is just one of our huge success stories this year.”In addition to the curriculum, Principal Askia Kirby says Diaz also teaches her students a number of other skills.“She focuses on the academics and does a wonderful job of it but she makes sure to take that time to teach life skills, to teach people skills, to teach social skills, because at the end of the day, those are some key pieces that we must teach our children in order for them to be successful in life,” Kirby said. “You can tell she makes them feel like a champion every day.”After receiving a viewer nomination about Diaz, we selected her as WWAY and Mattress & Furniture Liquidators’ Teacher of the Week.“Its amazing! I am so honored to have this title,” she said. “Thank you guys so much. Its so humbling and just reminds me that what I’m doing matters and all the little things–a smile on a kid’s face, a hug every morning, a hug goodbye, a little note saying ‘I love you,’ saying thank you so much, getting it from parents as well and other teachers–that’s what worth it, that makes up for the pay.”Diaz says she wants to give her students a voice, and to ensure they are known and heard.“I want to do everything in my power that while they are here, they feel loved and taken care of and that they feel they have the capabilities to do whatever they want to do and that there’s nothing that’s holding them back,” she said.With an encouragement like this, these students certainly have a fair shot at going far and achieving their personal best.Click here to tell us about an exceptional teacher you know who is making a difference in the lives of students. Each week’s winner receives a $100 Staples gift card on behalf of WWAY and Mattress & Furniture Liquidators.last_img read more

first_img “If you know the god that we serve, he’s a provider,” Sandra David said. “He sends help in the time of need. We didn’t know how it was going to come, but we knew it was going to come.”David is the pastor at Sandhill AME Church.“This is a miracle,” Valerie Jordan said. “If anybody wanted to not read about a miracle but see a miracle, just come to Whitestocking.”Related Article: Division of Coastal Management sets up temporary office in WilmingtonThis wasn’t their first flood. The people who live in the Whitestocking community know devastation.This week, more helpers are on the horizon. One group is here to rebuild more than just hope.“It’s really just to make a miracle for this church,” Becky Hetzer said. “They’ve been praying for it since the flood, and they had no idea how it was going to happen. We call them ‘holy hookups’, when the Lord just intervenes in the very special way that he does. We’re here to make a miracle.”Hetzer works with Hosanna Industries, a construction non-profit from Pennsylvania. Her team is here this week to restore the church’s dining hall from the ground up.David says this is one of many blessings over the past six months. She says the church is step one of recovery for the community. After that, she says everything else will follow.“Once you see one thing start, God finishes up what he starts,” David said. “So it’s going to be okay.”David says they are planning to have a dedication service Thursday at 6 p.m. in the brand new dining hall. This will be the first time the community will be back together under this roof since the hurricane hit last September. BURGAW, NC (WWAY) — Thursday marks six months since Hurricane Florence tore through southeastern North Carolina. It left a mark that will stay with communities for years.Whitestocking’s Sandhill AME Church was left underwater following the historic storm. Now, it is on the road to recovery. It hasn’t been easy, but the hope of this community has not once wavered.- Advertisement – last_img read more

first_img <a href=’http://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/ck.php?n=ab2c8853&amp;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’https://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=97&amp;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> SharePrint Photo by Miguela XuerebPhoto by Miguela Xuereb Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar believes that the key aspect missing from the new building regulations is enforcement.FAA argues that throughout the list of legal amendments which the ‘Avoidance of Damage to Third Party Property during Construction,’ hopes to enact, they state that the, ‘legislation is silent’ on enforcement.They explain that there appears to be, ‘no commitment to increase resources for enforcement by the Building Regulations Office,’ signaling ‘no change.’Demolition and excavation reforms enforced tomorrow – BorgNot new but a regressionIn their response to the amendments outlined in the draft regulations, FAA says that is in essence nothing new on the issue of geological surveys conducted on excavations below three metres. However, now it is suggested that a geotechnical investigation within a geotechnical design report is optional on the decision of the architect. ‘That is no longer obligatory, and will in many cases be swept aside,’ they state.Miguela XuerebEnforcing the 76cm ruleWorst still, FAA argues that the new regulations, ‘have not incorporated or increased the Police law re leaving a distance of 76cm when excavating alongside a neighbouring wall.’ They state that this needs to be enforced seeing as developers have ignored this law, ‘in order to maximize basement space – at the risk of neighbours’ lives.’Decisions, training, licensing, responsibilityFAA argues that the amendments have not attempted to introduce the licensing or bestow responsibility upon contractors. They argue that this creates big problems when there are contractors who do not have any experience in the role.This is while FAA points to real concerns over decision making. They argue that the requirement for the architect and site manager to be present for all construction decisions doesn’t work when there is no site manager. This would mean that the responsibility would fall to the architect.Read more:Updated (1): ‘Public safety is paramount’ – KTPMalta Chamber of Planners proposes reducing permit validity; Ombudsman proposes one-stop-shop‘A manager needs to be on-site for all key decisions’ – construction consultationWorst still, they raise concerns over the training and awareness of the other roles involved in the construction project, these being the demolition contractors, crane operators, steel workers or concrete pourers. They explain that, ‘these people would be unaware of the first signs of danger and press on, oblivious of the risks to themselves and others.’ They argue that this creates, ‘a recipe for disaster.’FAA concludes by saying that the legislation is acting to protect Malta’s development lobby.‘By its failure to tackle the real issues, it is clear that this legislation was drafted to avoid penalising the development lobby, the very sector that has caused residents to fear for their safety in their own homes.’  We’re asking for implementation of existing lawsSimilar to FAA’s comments about the implementation of new regulations, Professor Alex Torpiano says that Periti want the government should seriously implement existing laws.Torpiano outlines a series of items which the government should be carrying out, from the proper listing of licensed masons, issuing of licenses to building contractors and tradespeople, as outlined under the existing Building Regulations Act 2011.  He also explains that they call for current training for contractors and operatives involved in the industry today.Impact of demolitionThe Professor also questions why there is a lack of emphasis on analyzing the structural integrity of adjacent buildings or if building additional floors on top of existing buildings is less risky.He goes on to say that, ‘the focus, on the possible impact of geotechnical conditions on excavation, or building, works adjacent to existing properties, is not matched by any concern about the impact of demolition works on party walls of existing buildings, or the direct impact on existing buildings when additional floors are erected on walls, and on foundations and ground conditions, which were not conceived for that load.’For this reason, he states that the Legal Notice has been rushed and thus is ‘intrinsically deficient’Miguela XuerebGovernment reluctant to acknowledge lack of training and licensingProfessor Torpiano also explains that with the complexity of the industry it seemed as if the Government, ‘is reluctant to acknowledge that the lack of training, or the lack of skills licensing, are the roots of the problems of the industry.’His comment on this referred to the publication of the what appeared to be an incomplete list of licensed masons at Kamra Tal-Periti’s Extraordinary General Meeting.‘Without an ID card No., and without a validity period, the list is practically of no use to Periti or owners wishing to engage skilled craftsmen for their projects. Even worse, the limited training that our masons receive before being licensed is effectively designed for a construction industry primarily based on stone construction, as required decades ago.’For this reason, the writer asks that those with key responsibilities in the construction industry are brought up to the same industry level of skill and knowledge, are licensed, registered and regulated, in order that they can function effectively within the industry and for the sake of the public who will be using their services.‘The construction industry is currently like a big hospital where the doctors are trained, and are clearly required to take responsibility for their decisions and instructions; but contrary to common sense, none of the other hospital staff, that should support their work, are either adequately trained, or licensed, or even registered. Adding to the liabilities of the doctors would not, in these circumstances, make the health of the patients any better.’WhatsApplast_img read more

30 Jul / 2019

Your Mouse Is Doomed

first_imgAdvertisement Apple’s forthcoming OS upgrade, Lion, is all about gesture control. Swipe this way to do that, swipe another way to do the other. There are so many swipe and tap and slide commands, people will start writing cheat sheet apps to help other people remember them all.Your tired old mouse will still work, but it won’t do all those whizzy gesture tricks. If you use a desktop Mac, or a notebook that’s closed and plugged into an external display, the only way to take advantage of this shiny newness will be to buy one of Apple’s wireless Magic Trackpads. Ker-ching!It’s not just Apple that’s out to kill off the mouse. Microsoft’s preview of Windows 8 last week showed that it was clearly built for touch. When it finally gets released, it will still work on older computers, with old mice plugged into them. But it will work better on touch-enabled devices. – Advertisement – It’s the beginning of a slow, drawn-out end for the mouse. Like the cassette tape, it will continue to be manufactured for years, and used for even more years after manufacturing has ceased.Logically, that also means we’re going to see the decline of the word “click” as an instruction to computer users. Over time, it will lose its meaning. “Tap” and “touch” will take over.Still, if that means the end of the phrase “Click here!” on websites, I’m all in favor.Read more: http://techland.time.comlast_img read more

first_imgAdvertisement HP, the company announced their plans to offer applications hosted on IaaS and SaaS models. HP and Microsoft made a similar strategic partnership on a global scale bringing Microsoft’s enterprise software and HP’s hardware together. To start with, Bharti will be offering:ERPStorage and computingAccounting packagesTargeting SMBs, Airtel calls this the Cloud Enablement Platform (CLEP) and is built on HP’s Aggregation Platform for Software as a Service (AP4SaaS). According to the press release, HP’s AP4SaaS plugs into Airtel’s network infrastructure which allows Bharti to offer “Communications as a Service” in addition to SaaS.Bharti’s CLEP will be a pay as you go service. – Advertisement – Source: ZDNetlast_img read more

29 Jul / 2019

If I ruled the World

first_imgBrazil v EnglandFriendlyTIME: 8pmTV: ITV35 points profit !!Well that worked out well for the column yesterday !!Derby winner RULER OF THE WORLD (WON 7/1) gave us a 35 point profit on the day to recommended stakes of 4 points each way and the weekly profit now stands at 63 points.YIKES !!The debate about the Derby will continue for weeks but I think we saw a worthy winner (although I’m a little biased !).From Epsom to Rio for tonight’s friendly between Brazil and England.There’s been more said about the shambolic state of the ground than the actual match and there was plenty of building work going on in the 24 hours before the match kick off.The Brazilian football association insist the stadium will be ready for tonight’s game.Yet on Saturday evening, it was clear that plenty of work was still to be done. Hundreds of builders wearing hard hats were inside the grounds of the system banging pieces of wood together and tidying up stray wires.One of the toilets inside the stadium flooded, spilling water out onto the floor, while outside the stadium a queue of hundreds of workers snaked around a chaotic makeshift ticket centre.Good job Brazil don’t have any major sporting events coming up in the next few years isn’t it.I can’t get as enthusiastic about this match as I should do. Come on… it’s BRAZIL v ENGLAND for goodness sake man.Perhaps it’s just burn out from too much football, perhaps it’s because it’s just a friendly or perhaps both sides are not what they once were.Anyway it’s certainly not a match to throw away too many of our hard-earned points on and I’ll risk a few points on the draw with Star Sports.England don’t have such a bad record against the Samba Boys.STAR FORECAST(stake between 0.5 and 10 points)3 points DRAW Brazil v England(+35 points Saturday, +63 points this week)Agree OR disagree? Call Star Sports on 08000 521 321 to place your bet.last_img read more

first_imgShareCONTACT: B.J.AlmondPHONE: (713) 348-6770EMAIL: balmond@rice.eduNEW YORK TIMES REPORTER TO SPEAK AT RICEFRIDAY ElaineSciolino will discuss and sign copies of her book, “Persian Mirrors”A look at Iran frombehind closed doors will be presented at Rice University by New York Timesreporter Elaine Sciolino Oct. 20.“Iran is one ofAmerica’s last enemies on earth and a country misunderstood by Americans,” saidSciolino, who will discuss her new book, “Persian Mirrors: The Elusive Face ofIran,” at 6 p.m. at Rice’s James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy. Shewill sign copies of her book from 7 to 7:30 p.m. To request a reservation toSciolino’s presentation, call (713) 348-4843.Sciolino, a seniorwriter in the Washington, D.C., bureau of The New York Times, began herjournalism career reporting for Newsweek. One of the first female foreigncorrespondents assigned to the guarded, male-ruled world of the IslamicRepublic, she has covered Iran since the 1979 revolution. Sciolino was there forthe seizure of the American Embassy, the Iran-Iraq war and the riots of thesummer of 1999. She has interviewed such key Iranian leaders as AyatollahKhomeini and President Mohammad Khatami. In “Persian Mirrors,”Sciolino takes the reader into the public and private spaces of Iran AddThislast_img read more

first_imgAddThis ShareMEDIA ADVISORYDavid Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduJade Boyd713-348-6778jadeboyd@rice.eduSept. 24-25 conference to feature lessons from hurricanes Ike, SandySpeakers include Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Port Authority Chair Janiece Longoria HOUSTON — (Sept. 10, 2013) — Rice University’s Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters Center (SSPEED) will mark both the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Ike and the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy with a two-day conference at Rice Sept. 24-25 titled “Hurricane Ike: 5 Years Later.” The conference, organized by SSPEED directors Phil Bedient and Jim Blackburn, is intended for a broad audience of concerned citizens, business and industry leaders, emergency managers, governmental officials and academic researchers. More than 150 people have already registered.Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Port of Houston Authority Chair Janiece Longoria will give keynote addresses. Other speakers include Bill Read, former director of the National Hurricane Center, New York City Department of Environmental Protection’s Kathryn Garcia and Office of Emergency Management’s Kelly McKinney. Each of these speakers will give presentations on Hurricane Sandy, including risk and response strategies.The conference will feature discussions on hurricane protection for Houston, including the SSPEED Center’s proposed Centennial Gate, a large surge gate near the Fred Hartman Bridge that would provide major storm-surge protection for the Houston Ship Channel and adjacent neighborhoods. The session will include discussions on legal issues, finance strategies, land use, environmental impacts and more.There will also be a discussion of post-Hurricane Katrina activities by Sara Hudson, the community preparedness coordinator from the city of New Orleans, and a presentation from Princeton Professor Ning Lin on climate changes and hurricane risk.The conference will address emerging federal thinking on nonstructural alternatives like the SSPEED-proposed Lone Star Coastal National Recreation Area (LSCNRA) and the creation of an ecosystem services exchange. The LSCNRA’s Steering and Partner Committees Chairman John Nau III will give a presentation on the “Progress on the Creation of the LSCNRA.”The final session of the conference will focus on evaluating and communicating risk to the public. This will include a discussion on sea-level rise, evacuation and emergency planning.Media interested in attending should contact Jade Boyd at 713-348-6778 or jadeboyd@rice.edu.###Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,708 undergraduates and 2,374 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 2 for “best value” among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to http://tinyurl.com/AboutRiceU.last_img read more

first_imgShareEXPERT ALERTDavid Ruthdavid@rice.edu713-348-6327Rice U. experts available to comment on Sunday’s Mexican electionsHOUSTON – (June 28, 2018) – With Mexicans going to the polls Sunday to elect a new president, 500 members of Congress and 128 senators, Rice University has two experts available to comment on the implications of a defining moment in Mexican politics.The director of the Mexico Center at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, Tony Payan, will be in Mexico this weekend and available for phone interviews. According to polls, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, also known as “AMLO,” is poised to capture the presidency, and it is likely that his party will obtain a majority of seats in at least one of the houses of Congress.Payan said the election is not only important to Mexico, but to the United States as well.“On Sunday, Mexico will hold one of the largest and most important elections in nearly 100 years,” Payan said. “This election promises to be crucial not only for Mexico but also for the binational relationship with the United States.“This is important because AMLO has shown a great deal of skepticism toward the economic development model that Mexico has pursued for the last three decades, including a close partnership with the United States and Canada through the North American Free Trade Agreement. He has also decried the 2014 energy reform and is likely to slow its implementation or reverse it altogether. In addition, he is less likely to accommodate U.S. security interests, particularly when it comes to the joint war on drugs and stemming the flow of Central American migrants through Mexico.“Mr. Lopez Obrador, many say, is Mexico’s response to a more nationalistic approach to public policy and the economy that we are currently witnessing in the United States. If so, AMLO may broaden the range of economic instruments to boost the Mexican economy, including subsidizing agriculture, increasing government investment in the energy sector and re-prioritizing the country’s security interests away from U.S. interests. All that means additional contentious points in the binational relationship – points that will need to be resolved as it has become clear over the last years that both countries need each other to resolve many of the problems that ail the continent and the world,” Payan said.Mark Jones, the Joseph D. Jamail Chair in Latin American Studies and professor of political science, said Lopez Obrador should cruise to victory.“There is no doubt that the ‘third time’s a charm’ for Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador,” Jones said. “After failing in his first two attempts to capture the Mexican presidency in 2006 and 2012, AMLO will coast to victory on Sunday.“The only doubt is by what margin he wins and whether his ‘Together We’ll Make History’ coalition will capture an absolute majority of the seats in the Mexican Chamber of Deputies and Senate.“AMLO is a left-wing populist, and his expected election as president has unnerved foreign and domestic investors, who will be adopting a wait-and-see approach on his presidency to determine whether the left-wing populist rhetoric he employed on the campaign trail will become reality or whether, in order to spur investment and development and generate much-needed revenue for the Mexican government, he will adopt a much more pragmatic approach to policy,” Jones added.“With Donald Trump in the White House and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in Los Pinos (the Mexican presidential residence), we can expect much more public conflict via Twitter and press releases between the leaders of these two nations — a sharp contrast to the first year and a half of the Trump presidency, during which the lame-duck and unpopular Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has tended to try to avoid direct conflict with President Trump whenever possible,” Jones said.To schedule an interview with Payan, who is also the Francoise and Edward Djerejian Fellow for Mexico Studies at the Baker Institute, contact David Ruth, director of national media relations at Rice, at david@rice.edu or 713-348-6327.To interview Jones, who is also a fellow in political science at Rice’s Baker Institute and a fellow at Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, contact him directly at mpjones@rice.edu.Rice University has a VideoLink ReadyCam TV interview studio available this weekend for Jones. Rice’s ReadyCam is capable of transmitting broadcast-quality standard-definition and high-definition video directly to all news media organizations around the world 24/7.-30-Image for download:http://news.rice.edu/files/2018/03/0326_MEXICO-b-1cqmtnh.jpgImage courtesy of Rice University/123rf.com.Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.This news release can be found online at news.rice.edu.Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,970 undergraduates and 2,934 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just under 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for quality of life and for lots of race/class interaction and No. 2 for happiest students by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to http://tinyurl.com/RiceUniversityoverview. AddThislast_img read more