A government climbdown over new disability benefit

first_imgA government climbdown over new disability benefit rules that were found by the high court to be unlawful and “blatantly discriminatory” demonstrates its failure to base its policies on sound research and evidence, say disabled campaigners.Esther McVey, the new work and pensions secretary, announced last Friday that she would not be appealing against the court’s finding, a decision that could mean that tens or even hundreds of thousands of disabled people will now be entitled to higher benefit payments.Regulations that came into force last March had meant that people who are unable to plan or undertake a journey due to overwhelming psychological distress would receive fewer qualifying points when assessed for personal independence payment (PIP).The new rules – which the government rushed through following an upper tribunal ruling which had found that such claimants should be entitled to those points – meant that many disabled people were entitled to a lower level of financial support for their mobility, and in many cases no mobility support at all.But the high court ruled last month that the new rules were unlawful, “blatantly discriminatory”, and breached article 19 (on independent living) of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.McVey’s decision means, she told MPs this week, that her Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will now be contacting as many as 220,000 disabled people who could be entitled to backdated payments.The legal case was supported from the beginning by the disabled people’s organisation Inclusion London through its Disability Justice Project.Svetlana Kotova, co-ordinator of the project, said: “This case is a great example of how disabled people should work with lawyers to stand up to the government and fight the injustice we experience.”   She added: “We knew those regulations were discriminatory and that’s why we supported this case from the start. “The threshold for the government to justify its discriminatory decisions about benefits is very low and in this case they could not cross even that. “The case laid bare the lack of evidence behind the DWP’s policy-making, which could not withstand scrutiny from the court. “In this case, the policy decision was based on unsupported assumptions made by DWP employees. “We knew from the beginning this justification was made up to mask the true purpose, which was to save money. We are delighted the judge saw it for what it was.”   Mr Justice Mostyn said in his judgement last month that DWP’s intention had been “to save money” and that the decision to introduce the new regulations had been “manifestly without reasonable foundation”.He said the work and pensions secretary had relied on a senior civil servant whose advice that people with psychological distress “generally have a lower level of functional need” had been “no more than a subjective opinion or hypothesis” and “a generalised assertion” without “factual or evidential basis”.Kotova said this was not the first time the government had failed to ground its policies in solid evidence.She said: “We are outraged that the policy which has an impact on thousands of disabled people was based on unsupported opinions of the DWP’s experts. “Sadly, the DWP does not know what our lives are really like and does not want to know, as they have failed to meaningfully engage with disabled people and our organisations for a long time.”The government U-turn comes in the same week that the Department for Transport (DfT) was forced to propose changes to its blue badge parking scheme, following a legal case taken by an autistic man with learning difficulties (see separate story).In that case, the man had had a blue badge for 30 years but was told by his local council that he no longer qualified because of changes brought in in 2014 following PIP’s introduction.This had made it almost impossible for many disabled people whose mobility is affected by mental health conditions or autism to secure a blue parking badge.The government failed to carry out an equality impact assessment of the changes before they were introduced.Picture: Activists outside the high court last monthlast_img read more

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City Report Shows Housing Shortfall Foresees Latino Population Decline in SF Mission

first_imgCritics and housing activists have argued that demand for housing in the neighborhood is so great that building enough housing to satisfy that demand is untenable.Campos said catching up to a 400,000 unit deficit is unfeasible and compared it to building “another city the size of San Francisco on top of San Francisco.” The city’s current housing stock comes to about 380,000 units. Instead,  he expressed support for the 18-month moratorium on market-rate housing in the Mission that would be enacted by Proposition I. He and other moratorium supporters emphasized the need for affordable housing, which is in short supply in the city’s pipeline compared to market-rate housing. The city is falling far short of its goal to build 30,000 new housing units by 2020. In 2014, the city added 3,514 new units 21 percent of which – rather than the stipulated 30 percent – were affordable. In the Mission, 627 units were added between 2010 and 2014, only 9.6 percent of which were affordable.“Who can live in this city with dignity that’s working-class?” asked Lariza Dugan-Cuadra, the executive director of the Central American Resource Center who was evicted from her Mission District home. “We need to stop displacement,” said Maria Zamudio, an organizer at the tenant advocacy organization Causa Justa::Just Cause. “This report shows clearly that more market rate development is only going to exacerbate this situation.”The report makes no claims about whether the city should build at a higher rate than it currently is.“It would be a very radical change in the level of construction in San Francisco, and ultimately to get to the needed numbers, a radical change in the city itself in terms of its density and population,” said Frank Brusseau of the Budget and Legislative Analyst’s office. “I’m not sure, given our current set of land use regulations, that it could be done or that it’s desirable on the part of the community and the policy makers.”Development proponents, for their part, interpreted the housing shortfall as a reason to build more aggressively. “There is a path to affordability. It involves a tremendous amount of units,” said Sonja Trauss, who heads the Bay Area Renter’s Federation. Where Campos and housing advocates see an impossibility, she sees a simple solution. “Instead of saying no, say yes,” Trauss said.  “There are people all over the city that, all they wanna do is build stuff. They come to the city and say, can we build? And the city says, I dunno, no? And then the city says, how can we build?”But to moratorium advocates, it’s the type of housing built that matters, and the preservation of the character of the Mission. The Budget and Legislative Analyst’s Office also noted a 6,000-person decrease in Latinos in the neighborhood, along with a net population decrease of  almost 4,000, which the report attributed  to a reduction of the number of families in the neighborhood. Units are still occupied by multiple people, but they tend not to be related. Those changes are due, said Roberto Hernandez, to a lack of affordable housing. “San Francisco has failed to put together a comprehensive plan for affordable housing,” Hernandez. Under a moratorium, he said, funding for affordable housing should come from property taxes on newly developed housing and from taxes on Airbnb. “Where will we get the money? Let’s look at Airbnb. They’re finally paying taxes, right? You saw all the billboards about how the money should be spent,” Hernandez said, referring to backlash over the home-sharing platform’s controversial ads. According to Leticia Hernandez (no relation to Roberto), the Mission is “not dead, not resigned.”  Instead, she said, “there is a war waging.” 0% Tags: housing • latinos • mission moratorium Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%center_img The San Francisco Budget and Legislative Analyst’s office released a report Tuesday indicating that the city would have needed to add some 459,000 units over the past 30 years to bring housing prices down to national trend levels. Should current trends in the types and quantities of housing built continue, the report also says, the Mission will only be 31 percent Latino by 2025, and high earners will continue to replace low income families leaving the neighborhood.Supervisor David Campos commissioned the report after a September report by the city’s chief economist Ted Egan indicated that the proposed Mission moratorium would have no effect on the neighborhood’s evictions because most newcomers arriving in the Mission have moved into existing housing stock rather than new units. Egan also concluded that the moratorium was likely to raise rents around the city by a few dollars a month for new renters. “This report is a counter to the very one-sided, very narrow perspective that was presented earlier,” Campos said. last_img read more

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PAUL Wellens has spoken of his surprise at recent

first_imgPAUL Wellens has spoken of his surprise at recent events and admits he is facing a big challenge as captain.The 32-year-old has been through a number of coaching changes in his career and says the best thing to do is move forward.“I was a little surprised at what happened,” he said, “but it is not the first time in my career. It is always sad when a coach moves on – especially someone like Royce who is a really nice fella. Those who have met him will tell you what a great bloke he is, so that part is sad.“But from a player’s perspective now we need to move forward. We have a tough game at the weekend and that is where we have to focus our energies.“There is a lot of respect for Keiron Cunningham and Mike Rush; they have both been at the club a long time so when there is a bit of turmoil we have two guys who can quickly bring some stability back to things.“But I know I am facing a challenge that not many St Helens captains have faced for quite some time. It is on record that this is our worst run of form for 23 years – but it’s a challenge we can rise to. We have a tough run of games and I think that is exactly what we need at this moment in time.“We have lost games this year but not been thumped in any, we have been competitive in them all. We have not finished them as we should have done and come up with too many errors. That is something we will have to get out of our game. You will be surprised that the boys are still pretty confident and buoyant and I believe we will get a good response from the players at the weekend.”He continued: “Rugby League is a simple game that can be over complicated, for us it is about getting back to basics. If we do that we can start to build our performances.“Confidence is a big issue when you lose games and you become anxious and try to rush things and lose composure. A few of our young players have come up with uncharacteristic mistakes which will happen every now and then.“The young lads have had a lot of press over the last 12 months about how well they have done – and rightly so because they are quality young players. But sometimes that can push them on a little bit further than where they are. Perhaps when things like this happen it is not a bad thing because they can look at their game, assess where they need to get better and then move forward.“We have to use this change as a clean slate and ultimately start our season again. We will continue to work hard – I believe this squad can be successful despite the poor start to the season. I think we can compete for the Challenge Cup and win a Grand Final. I have that belief and I am sure the rest of the guys can too.”last_img read more

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ADAM Swift says Saints are looking forward to the

first_imgADAM Swift says Saints are looking forward to the challenge of a trip to Hull but they need to play a lot better than last week.The 20-year-old notched his 13th try in 12 appearances for the club in the loss to Warrington.“We are a point in front of Hull FC so it is a must win game,” he said. “That would get us a tough home draw in the playoffs. We’re looking forward to the challenge.“We came off the back of decent wins against Catalan and Wigan then we just got by against London and Wakefield. That meant we needed a good performance against Warrington. But starting the way we did got us on the back foot.“Building your way back into a game after that is difficult enough. They threw everything at us and we didn’t match them in aggression and getting off our line. That’s what happens if you sit back, teams get a roll and it is hard to stop it.“We need to learn from that.”Tickets for Friday’s match at Hull FC remain on sale.Details are here and you can buy from the Ticket Office at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455 052 or by logging on here.last_img read more

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High surf winds from Irma in Surf City

first_img The waves were crashing against the side of the pier throughout the day.Despite the rough conditions, the beach and pier were packed with people checking out the spectacle.We spoke to one man, Larry Wood, who has been coming to Surf City for 50 years and he says he’s never seen anything like this.Related Article: Surf City will not resume dune restoration until November“I haven’t seen it this hard before, never seen the waves this high. Usually, you can come down here and you always see beach, unless it’s when you’ve got a full moon and a very high tide. I have seen the water high, but not rough like this,” said Wood.The strong wind gusts are expected to continue through Monday evening and into the overnight. The wind advisory is set to expire at 2 a.m. Tuesday morning.Other threats like isolated tornadoes and heavy rainfall will continue through the early stages of Tuesday. SURF CITY, NC (WWAY) — The winds were whipping and the ocean was angry all day Monday in Surf City.High tide occurred around noon and that was when the water was highest by the pier. It made its way all the way up to the dunes.- Advertisement – last_img read more

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Couple charged after meth lab found in White Lake trailer

first_img00:00 00:00 html5: Video file not foundhttps://cdn.field59.com/WWAY/1506130025-02293579d4515b353cf4093f6cb4a19d674487ed_fl9-720p.mp4 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settings WHITE LAKE, NC (WWAY) — A couple faces charges after police say they were making methamphetamine in a travel trailer at White Lake.Keith Douglas Transue, 50, and Karen Joan Pham, 42, of Indian Trail, are charged with the following:Travel trailer where White Lake Police found meth lab (Photo: White Lake Police Dept.)Maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substanceManufacturing methamphetamineFive counts of possession of precursor’s chemicals with intent to manufacture meth- Advertisement – According to a news release, a joint investigation between the White Lake Police Department and the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office uncovered a meth making operation around 2:00 p.m. on Thursday at 46 Bingman Street.Police contacted the SBI and a Clandestine Laboratory Response Team processed the scene.Transue was placed under a $300,000 bond. Pham was placed under a $150,000 bond.(Photo: White Lake Police Dept.)Related Article: WPD: Man shot during drug dealPolice say the couple will face additional charges once test results are confirmed at the North Carolina State Crime Lab.last_img read more

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Pilot killed in plane crash outside of Whiteville

first_imgCOLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) —  One person died when a small plane crashed Tuesday morning outside of Whiteville.Columbus County Municipal Airport says a 1966 Beechcraft BE-35 Debonair aircraft was trying to land at the airport but crashed in a wooded area near Runway 24 around 10:30 a.m.- Advertisement – According to Sgt. S.G. Greene with the NC Highway Patrol, the call came in that a plane had crashed off of Pleasant Plains Rd.Sgt Greene says George Chartress, III, 62, from Lake City, Florida was the pilot. He died in the crash. The passenger, Richard Shawn, 58, from Bradford, Rhode Island only had minor injuries and refused medical treatment.Related Article: Parts of human body found at cargo plane crash siteGreene says the plane took off from Cannon Creek, Florida around 7:40 a.m. and was on the way to Rhode Island. They were stopping in Columbus County to refuel. As they were making an approach to land, the engine stalled and crashed about 400 yards from the runway.Sammy Jacobs and his friend were among the first to respond. The two heard the crash was behind a little white church on Pleasant Plains Road so they headed that way.“We could hear the man hollering. And I told him, I said, you go in there and see if you can help him and I’ll go out here and get some help. And that’s, that’s what we done. We were back off the road a little ways so I run back out there to the highway and flagged some log men down,” Jacobs said.Jacobs runs a wrecker service and said helping people is what he lives for. Jacob said he is just glad he could help save at least one life.The National Transportation Safety Board will determine the pilot’s cause of death.last_img read more

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Updates to change look name of Independence Mall

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Major changes are coming to Wilmington’s Independence Mall. From its look, to its name, the new owner of the property has some big plans in the works.Shopper Joanne Cura says she tries not to shop at Independence Mall.- Advertisement – “It’s outdated, it’s dirty and there’s really no good stores there,” Cura said.Many people think Independence Mall needs a facelift.“I think it needs to be updated, cleaner, nicer stores, more upscale stores like at Mayfaire,” Cura said.Related Article: Former Cape Fear Serpentarium could become dental practice, spaThe new owner, Rouse Properties, is in its planning stages right now. CEO Brian Harper said they are transforming Independence Mall into a contemporary mixed-use center with a new name, The Collection at Independence.“We are really looking forward to unlocking the true embedded potential of the property and bringing to this community a retail experience that is unlike anything else in the market,” Harper said.Harper said they plan to remove sections of the mall, opening it up to make it more modern. Although Harper could not comment on which new businesses may head this way, he said there are a lot of tenants interested that would be new to the area.“Not only is Wilmington historic in nature, but it continues to grow and diversify,” Harper said. “We want to play our part in assisting with this revitalization, which we believe we can do by creating a lifestyle center that almost acts as a de facto downtown. I think people are going to be really excited by the finished product.”It is a transformation aimed at bringing life back into the shopping center and one shoppers said would make them more likely to check it out.“It would, ’cause I love staying in this part of town. With the traffic driving to Mayfaire is a pain, so I’d like to staying in this part of town,” Cura said.Harper said they are happy with having Dillard’s and Belk as their anchor tenants.Rouse Properties plans to share more details about what shops and businesses will be part of the new plan early next year.last_img read more

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Old Town Creek road filled with potholes neighbors frustrated

first_img Brown said she has called the Department of Transportation for the past 10 years, complaining about these conditions caused by the weather and trucks driving through the area.Brown said the DOT sends crew to fix the roads from time to time, but Brown wants the road paved, not patched.“Where the worst part of it is on this road is because they’re doing some tree harvesting. The log trucks are just tearing the road up. But again, if they go ahead and pave the road we might not have the problem,” Brown said.Related Article: When will bridges close due to bad weather?And she’s not the only one upset about these potholes.“Every time I take them to school, I try to avoid the potholes. They’re so big I’m scared I’m going to mess up my car. I try to go around them but if there’s a car coming the other way, I have no choice but to hit the holes. And risk the chance of maybe popping a tire or messing up my wheel somehow,” a resident, Caitlin Biggerstaff, said.North Carolina Department of Transportation spokesman Brian Rick, said instead of calling, people need to go online and report potholes.When asked how they determine what is patched or paved, Rick said crews go out and assess the problem.We reached out to the D-O-T office in Brunswick county to get specifics about this situation. No one called WWAY back. If you have potholes on a state maintained road, contact the DOT. If you’re on a city maintained street, call your city. Private roads are the responsibility of residents. LELAND, NC (WWAY) — The past 10 years have been a rocky road for some Brunswick County drivers. For many people on Old Town Creek road, potholes are a frequent problem on their daily drive.“Anytime you drive through a pothole, it can’t be good for your car but I do know that it’s all an understood frustration for us neighbors because a lot of us don’t even use this road anymore,” a resident, Kayde Brown, said.- Advertisement – last_img read more

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MTN Ugandas halfyear results show continued performance improvement

first_imgAdvertisement MTN Group’s Interim results, for the six-month period to 30 June 2013, that were announced show that MTN is well positioned for improved organic growth. MTN Group’s results were supported by strong organic growth from Uganda with a 15.4% increase in year-on-year revenue. MTN is a leading emerging markets operator, connecting more than 200 million people in 22 countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East. It is at the forefront of global technological changes, delivering a bold, new Digital World to its customers.Announcing the MTN Group results and the achievement of 200 million customers, the Group President and CEO, Sifiso Dabengwa said, “We’ve reached this important milestone a year before we celebrate 20 years of connecting people and economies, from South Africa, where MTN was started in 1994, to South Sudan, our most recent market”.The results reflect a challenging operating environment given the sustained global economic slowdown, highly competitive mobile markets and pricing pressures, which have seen average voice tariffs across our markets fall 29.5% year-on-year (YoY) in US dollar terms. Despite these challenges, our substantial investment in network infrastructure and robust subscriber growth position us well for improved organic growth.Highlights from MTN Uganda show an increase in its subscriber base by 4.4% to 8 million from 7.7 million at the end of December 2012, driven by strong promotional activity, a reduction in churn and the continued success of the MTN Zone offering. – Advertisement – MTN Uganda’s revenue increased by 15.4%, supported by strong data revenue growth. SMS revenue declined 14.6% as customers opted for newer data-driven social media platforms to communicate and as internet browsing increased. This positively impacted mobile data revenue, which increased 57.4%, supported by a simplified data bundles offering and upgraded internet speeds, regional data exhibitions and a strong performance from MTN Mobile Money. MTN Mobile Money recorded a 51% increase in subscribers and more than 25 million transactions per month.Commenting on the results, MTN Uganda CEO Mazen Mroué said, “I am happy to note that the results announced earlier today show a steady performance for the MTN Group and particularly for MTN Uganda which has passed its 8 million customer landmark”.MTN Uganda’s focus over the last year has been on Network Quality, the rollout of innovative Products and Services and improvement of Customer Experience.During the last 15 years, MTN has made major investments to its infrastructure in Uganda. MTN Uganda launched the first mobile money service in Uganda with tremendous success, introduced 3G+ and 4G LTE, expanded the mobile distribution foot print, and greatly enhanced the mobile core, radio capacity and infrastructure technology.  Furthermore, it extended the fibre network backbone and built regional switching centres in the East, West, North and Central regions.[related-posts]In terms of infrastructure, last year MTN Uganda completed an additional 600km of fibre infrastructure closing the year with 2,800km of fibre to provide the capacity for high speed data connectivity and wider National coverage of 3G+ mobile data services that extend internet access to the rural areas of Uganda.“I would like to congratulate the MTN Uganda staff for their contribution and support in achieving these positive results. At MTN we recognize our staff as a key asset in enabling this success”, Mroué added.A key indicator of this excellence can be seen through a number of Awards that the company has received over the past couple of months showing endorsement from both its customers and other stakeholders.Last week, MTN Uganda received three awards from Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) including Best Telecom Company, Best Money Transfer Services and Best Internet Service Provider 2013. This came just a few weeks after MTN Uganda was recognized as Uganda’s leading Super Brand where MTN was also recognized in the Telecommunications, Internet, Computers and Technology category. At this same award ceremony, MTN Mobile Money was also recognized under the financial category, ranking closely to some banks and other financial institutions.Earlier in April, MTN Uganda was also voted as the Best Mobile Telecom provider of the year (2012) at the 2013 Uganda Responsible Investment (URI) awards.“The MTN Uganda leadership team is fully aligned and committed to support the staff to continue performing and excelling to ensure that we are able to deliver even better results by the end of the year,” Mroué said.He added that MTN Uganda will continue to invest in Uganda to ensure that it lives up to its vision of leading the delivery of a bold, new Digital World to our customers. MTN Uganda is embracing this vision through constant enhancements to our Data Network to deliver World-class Internet and make our customers’ lives a whole lot brighter.To celebrate this achievement, and to continue giving back to the communities that have supported MTN over the years, the Group President and CEO, Mr. Sifiso Dabengwa, also announced a bold R200 million initiative to improve the quality of education across our markets in Africa and the Middle East.“This is our opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to social development. Due to the lack of access to quality education and infrastructure, and low literacy rates in most of the countries we operate in, we will direct a significant amount of our corporate social (CSI) spend towards education over the next two years,” Dabengwa commented.last_img read more

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Coursera is now available for Apple TV

first_imgAdvertisement Online learning platform Coursera is now available for Apple TV.Using the app, you can now have the full Web-based Coursera course-load, similar to the iOS app.With the  app, you can learn about everything you want and  its the first tvOS app which is an online learning platform. – Advertisement – Coursera can be found via a search in the Apple TV App Store, and is available as a free download.Via TNWlast_img

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Snapchat to Get Original Time Warner Shows

first_imgImage Credit: TheVerge Advertisement Time Warner and Snap said on Monday they had entered into an agreement to develop original shows for messaging service Snapchat over the next two years.The companies did not disclose the financial terms but a source familiar with the matter said the deal was valued at USD$100 million.As part of the deal, the media company’s HBO, Turner and Warner Bros units will advertise on Snapchat as they try to grab the attention of millennials, who are increasingly moving to mobile and online from traditional pay-TV. – Advertisement – Time Warner said it expects to air three shows per day by the end of this year. Snapchat currently airs one show per day for its users, which typically lasts for three to five minutes.Snap has been working with media companies and studios such as NBC, ESPN, BBC and Discovery Networks.“We’re confident this partnership will help drive larger audiences to our shows,” said Gary Ginsberg, Time Warner’s marketing and communications head.[related-posts]source: Reuterslast_img read more

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The Art of Conversation

first_imgI have an old friend, an on-course bookmaker by the name of Mick Crombie,who has always said to me that his favourite art, is that of conversation.I, today, met one of his fellow artists.In order to save my right-hand-man, Gaul Wood, from the punters and staff,should I snuff it out of the blue, I have organised an insurance policy thatwill leave him plenty of ammo to crack on with. As part of obtaining thisinsurance policy, I have had to have a full medical, carried out by anexperienced doctor, just in case I might try and hoodwink him! Would I?Would I ever try and do something like that to an official?! What anafront!! Anyway, this morning, at eleven ‘o clock, Dr Afzal Hossain of ‘Harley StreetDoctors’ came to my home to carry out the said inspection of my being. Whenpeople watch the likes of John Francombe inspecting a horse they speak ofhim being a ‘horse-man’. Of absolute knowledge and judgement of the animal,and at one with it. Dr Hossain appeared, to me at least, to be the same butwith the human body. I was given a full MOT and what ensued was afascinating hour of checks, balances, blood test, knocking of knees andstretching of limbs. In addition to this, was produced some extremelyinteresting and thought provoking conversation, that digressed at times tohis charitable work in Mauritius, horse racing in the same country,autopsies he performed at medical school, and his beliefs in a God or acreator that are afirmed by his professional knowledge of the creation thatis the human body.He told me the following interesting medical facts:I am twelve and a half stone (I’ve lost a bit since my brutal tonsiloperation) and my BMI is recorded at 27, being two units over therecommended level. In short, I am a stone over-weight.He said that, in laymans terms, if your tummy sticks out further than yourboobs, your life expectancy is reduced by 25%. I immediately challengedthis as being rather extreme as that means that even slight porkers struggleto get through sixty, and he just nodded dead-pan at me. He said it is aproven medical fact that has stood the test of time. When looking down atthe tragectory of my body, this will at times, from now on, be a ratherworrying fact to carry in my mind. Note to self: act upon this information.I said that I run an hour a day, six days a week. He said he was amazedthat I was thus over-weight and should see a thyroid gland specialist. Ifailed to advise him to read my blog ‘Arriba Espana’, where I was referringto myself as ‘El Gordo’, because of my roast beef eating performance atRules Restaurant. I must be honest to myself in admitting that by notinforming Dr Hossein of these Olympic level eating skills, it was borderingon telling him an untruth and I withheld essential information from him.Apologies, doc!He said that you should have your sight checked when you get new glasses,even if you don’t think you need to. Your lenses not being strong enoughcan lead to glaucoma (bad thing).I have blood pressure of 105/72. This is apparently very good. I amobviously fully in control of my punters and staff related anger this week!I am 172 centimetres in height, 80 kilograms in weight, and my pulse rate is68. I do not have diabetes and blood tests show no sugar or protein, so mykidneys are performing well too.He said that you should mix up the types of exercise you do as you willderive far more benefit from it. Ie not just running everyday. Herecommended cross-trainers and rowing machines highly.I told him that I have been known to retire to the balcony and enjoy thevery occasional menthol cigarrette. He informed me that there are some verygood herbal substitutes that give one a far greater feeling of relaxationthan chomping on an ‘oily rag’.After he had performed the tests he asked me if I had a photo-copier. Ipointed him towards a black light-aircraft type object, that looks like itcould have brought some small aliens to Earth. I am personally unaware ofthe machine’s full uses but I invited him to give it a go. He looked from adistance and then declined. I think the makers of such overly complicatedmachines need to take some responsibility in that even some of the mostintelligent people in the World, like Dr Hossein, shy away from trying touse them!Anyway, it was a most interesting hour. Thank you, Dr Hossein. I am stillalive and plan on being so for at least the forseeable future.Ben.last_img read more

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STARTERS ORDERS Tues Movers Specials

first_imgWelcome to Starters Orders. Our daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Tuesday 3 April HORSE RACING3.55 LingfieldKey Player 14/1 > 13/24.25 LingfieldDutiful Son 8/1 > 5/15.30 LingfieldOutofthequestion 6/1 > 3/1CHAMPIONS LEAGUEUEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg19:45 BT Sport Showcase / BT Sport 39/2 Sevilla 8/13 Bayern Munich 7/2 DRAWUEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg19:45 BT Sport 211/5 Juventus 7/5 Real Madrid 23/10 DRAWBET NOW starsports.bet or 08000 521 321last_img read more

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£4200 The Greyhound Winners Take It All

first_imgStar Sports are delighted this week to send the Greyhound Trust £4,200 after two of our charity tipsters put up the Star Sports Greyhound Derby winner Dorotas Wildcat at juicy ante-post odds.Mick Livesey (Towcester’s Operations Manager) had £100 at 22/1 and Dorotas Wildcat winning trainer Kevin Hutton also weighed in with his £100 at 20/1.The Greyhound Trust was founded in 1975 and since then has found over 85,000 loving homes for greyhounds. Each year, they home approximately 4,000 retired racing greyhounds and help hundreds more, but there are many more that still need help.To find out more about the Greyhound Trust and how you can help them please visit https://www.greyhoundtrust.org.ukPAID !!!last_img read more

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JULIE COLLIER Champions League Wednesday Preview

first_imgBET NOW starsports.bet or 08000 521 321 WEDNESDAY CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Julie Collier looks ahead to tonight’s Champions League games between MAN CITY v LYON and YOUNG BOYS v MAN U with some recommended bets on starsports.bet. Both matches kick off at 8pm. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET MARKET<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><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>last_img read more

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Rice historian to join March 18 panel discussion on Texas textbook controversy

first_imgShareCONTACT: Franz BrotzenPHONE: 713-348-6775E-MAIL: franz.brotzen@rice.eduRice historian to join March 18 panel discussion on Texas textbook controversyRebecca Goetz, assistant professor of history at Rice University, will take part in a panel discussion March 18 on the debate over moves to alter history textbooks in the state of Texas. The panel is part of the Organization of American Historians (OAH) meeting in Houston (http://annualmeeting.oah.org/). Goetz will be joined by five other prominent historians to discuss “History Wars: the Texas Textbook Controversy” from 3:30 to 5 p.m.The discussion is open to members of the news media with press passes; the general public must purchase a day pass to the OAH conference for $85.Goetz will speak on how the historical profession needs to do a better job explaining what historians do. “History is a method and a mode of understanding, not a list of names and dates,” she said. “Our collective failure to communicate the important work historians do helps create space for controversies like the one in Texas.”The Texas Board of Education recently approved changes to the social studies curriculum that alter history and economics texts, stressing the superiority of U.S. capitalism, questioning the Founding Fathers’ commitment to a purely secular government and presenting conservative political thinking in a more positive light.The discussion will be chaired by Paul Boyer of the University of Wisconsin. The other panelists are Stanford’s David M. Kennedy, who will reflect on 30 years of experience writing textbooks and what historians mean when they say they want students to “think historically”; Emilio Zamora, of the University of Texas at Austin, who will discuss his experiences working with the numerous organizations and individuals that challenged the revised curriculum and the process that produced it; Mark Chancey, of Southern Methodist University, who will provide context for the Texas controversy within a larger effort by the Christian right to foster an understanding of American identity that is distinctly “Christian”; and the University of Minnesota’s Lisa Norling, who will deliver remarks about the Minnesota textbook controversy of 2003-2004.For more on Goetz, go to http://history.rice.edu/content.aspx?id=112.Members of the news media who want to speak with Goetz should contact Franz Brotzen at franz.brotzen@rice.edu or 713-348-6775. AddThislast_img read more

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Good vibrations help reveal molecular details

first_imgAddThis ShareEditor’s note: A link to an image for download appears at the end of this release. Jeff Falk713-348-6775jfalk@rice.eduMike Williams713-348-6728mikewilliams@rice.eduGood vibrations help reveal molecular detailsRice University scientists combine disciplines to pinpoint small structures in unlabeled molecules HOUSTON – (Feb. 15, 2017) – Five years of hard work and a little “cosmic luck” led Rice University researchers to a new method to obtain structural details on molecules in biomembranes.The method by the Rice lab of physicist Jason Hafner combines experimental and computational techniques and relies on the plasmonic properties of gold nanoparticles. It takes advantage of the nanoparticles’ unique ability to focus light on very small targets.The researchers call their protocol SABERS, for structural analysis by enhanced Raman scattering, and say it could help scientists who study amyloid interactions implicated in neurodegenerative disease, the neuroprotective actions of fatty acids and the function of chemotherapy agents.The details appear this month in the American Chemical Society journal Nano Letters.The molecules tryptophan, left, and decyltrimethylammonium bromide, right, over their SABERS maps. SABERS, a new analysis method developed at Rice University, is able to obtain structural details of molecules in lipid membranes near gold nanoparticles without molecular tags. Courtesy of the Hafner LabTheir method extracts the location of specific chemical groups within the molecules by locating their characteristic vibrations. When a laser activates plasmons in the nanoparticles, it amplifies vibrationally scattered light from nearby molecules, a phenomenon called surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS). The enhancement is sensitive to exactly where the molecule sits relative to the nanoparticle.“Molecules can vibrate in many different ways, so we have to assign a ‘center of vibration’ to each one,” Hafner said. “If you watch some part of a molecule vibrating, you can visualize where it occurs, but we also had to find a mathematical way to describe it.”SERS spectra are notoriously difficult to untangle, so the full SABERS method also requires unenhanced spectral measurements and theoretical calculations of both the nanorod optics and the molecular properties, he said.Jason HafnerHafner and his team tested their technique on three structures: surfactant molecules that come with gold nanorods, lipid molecules that form membranes on gold nanorods and tryptophan, an amino acid that settles into the membrane.“We found that the surfactant layer is tilted by 25 degrees, which is interesting because it explains why other measurements found that the layer appears thinner than expected,” Hafner said.Lipids easily replace surfactants on nanorods since they end in the same chemical structure. By comparing vibrations of that structure in the lipid headgroup to a double bond in the tail, SABERS found the correct orientation and thickness of the lipid bilayer membrane. “It’s just cosmic luck that a lipid ends in a perfectly symmetric structure that vibrates and is Raman active and loves to sit on a nanorod,” Hafner said.The researchers also used SABERS to locate tryptophan in the lipid bilayer. “It’s very bright, spectroscopically, and easy to see,” he said. “In real biological structures, tryptophan is just a small residue attached to a much larger protein. However, tryptophan helps anchor the protein to the membrane, so researchers want to know where it prefers to sit.”Next, Hafner wants to analyze bigger molecules. “In principle, through spectroscopic tricks, we could take this to larger structures, and perhaps even find every residue in a protein to get the whole structure. That’s futuristic, but it’s where we think we can go with it,” he said.Rice alumnus James Matthews, now a software engineer at Schlumberger, is lead author of the paper. Co-authors are Rice undergraduate students Cyna Shirazinejad and Grace Isakson and graduate student Steven Demers. Hafner is a professor of physics and astronomy and of chemistry.The Robert A. Welch Foundation and Lockheed Martin supported the research.-30-Read the abstract at http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.nanolett.6b04509This news release can be found online at news.rice.eduFollow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNewsRelated materials:Hafner Lab: http://hafnerlab.blogs.rice.eduRice Physics and Astronomy Department: www.physics.rice.eduWiess School of Natural Sciences: http://natsci.rice.eduImages for download: http://news.rice.edu/files/2017/02/0220_RAMAN-1-WEB-1o362ag.jpgThe molecules tryptophan, left, and decyltrimethylammonium bromide, right, over their SABERS maps. SABERS, a new analysis method developed at Rice University, is able to obtain structural details of molecules in lipid membranes near gold nanoparticles without molecular tags. (Credit: Hafner Lab/Rice University)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 3,879 undergraduates and 2,861 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 is ranked No. 1 for happiest students and for lots of race/class interaction 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.last_img read more

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Mayors of Sanctuary Cities Say Theyll Fight Trumps Plans

first_imgSeattle Mayor Ed Murray (second L) at a post-election event of elected officials and community leaders at City Hall in Seattle on Nov. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   Mayors of ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Say They’ll Fight Trump’s Plans By The Associated Press November 15, 2016 Updated: November 15, 2016 Share this article Show Discussioncenter_img Share SEATTLE—Democratic mayors of major U.S. cities that have long had cool relationships with federal immigration officials say they’ll do all they can to protect residents from deportation, despite President-elect Donald Trump’s vows to withhold potentially millions of dollars in taxpayer money if they don’t cooperate.New York’s Bill de Blasio, Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel and Seattle’s Ed Murray are among those in “sanctuary cities” who have tried to soothe immigrant populations worried about Trump’s agenda.“Seattle has always been a welcoming city,” Murray said Monday. “The last thing I want is for us to start turning on our neighbors.”In Providence, Rhode Island, Mayor Jorge Elorza, the son of Guatemalan immigrants, said he’d continue a longstanding city policy of refusing to hold people charged with civil infractions for federal immigration officials, and Newark’s Ras Baraka echoed that, calling Trump’s rhetoric on immigration “scary.”Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks at a news conference on Jan. 5, 2016, in Chicago where he announced an expansion of the CTAs successful Second Chance Program. (Brian Jackson/Chicago Sun-Times via AP) Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks at a news conference on Jan. 5, 2016, in Chicago where he announced an expansion of the CTAs successful Second Chance Program. (Brian Jackson/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)During the campaign, Trump gave an immigration speech in which he promised to “end the sanctuary cities” and said those “that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities will not receive taxpayer dollars.” He blamed such policies for “so many needless deaths.” Trump didn’t elaborate further on his plans for cracking down on the cities, and in a “60 Minutes” interview broadcast Sunday, he said his administration’s immediate priority will be on deporting criminals and securing the border.But significant questions—and unease—remain concerning his approach to sanctuary cities.Related CoverageReport: George Soros, Liberal Donors Meet in Washington DC Over TrumpThere’s no legal definition of the term, which is opposed by some immigration advocates, who say it doesn’t reflect that people can still be deported. It generally refers to jurisdictions that don’t to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. That can mean, for example, they don’t notify immigration officials when an undocumented immigrant is about to be released from custody.Some cities, like San Francisco, have long declared themselves safe havens for immigrants, issuing local ID cards to allow them to access government or other services. It’s also been used to refer to cities that bar employees, including police, from inquiring about a person’s immigration status, on the grounds that crime victims and witnesses might be less likely to talk to investigators if they’re worried about being deported.“We don’t want anybody to be afraid to talk to us,” said Sheriff John Urquhart in Washington’s King County, which includes Seattle.Since states and cities can’t be required to enforce federal law—and there’s no federal law requiring police to ask about a person’s immigration status—it’s likely that any Trump effort to crack down on sanctuary cities would focus on those that refuse to comply with ICE requests, said Roy Beck, chief executive of NumbersUSA, which wants to see immigration levels reduced.Related CoverageLAPD Chief: Police Won’t Help Deport Immigrants Under TrumpIt’s also unclear what money Trump might pull from the cities. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that for Congress to impose conditions on the receipt of federal money by the states, the conditions must be reasonably related to the purpose of the money. For example, the feds threatened to withhold highway funds from any state that failed to adopt a 0.08 blood-alcohol limit: Both the limit and the highway funding were related to road safety.“If the funding is for improving childhood education, it’s hard to say that’s reasonably related to local law enforcement cooperation with deportations,” said Mary Fan, a University of Washington Law School professor.That said, the U.S. Justice Department’s inspector general looked at some jurisdictions with sanctuary policies earlier this year and concluded some appear to violate a federal law that says state and local governments may not prohibit or restrict officials from sharing information about a person’s immigration status with federal immigration officials. Having such policies could jeopardize millions of dollars in DOJ grant money the jurisdictions receive, the IG memo said.According to the Center for Immigration Studies, which also calls for lower immigration levels, about 300 jurisdictions around the country have sanctuary-like policies.Related CoverageTrump Considers Giuliani for Secretary of State“The result is people who should be deported, who have come to the attention of police because of crime, are released back into the community,” said the group’s director of policy studies, Jessica Vaughan.Exhibit A for supporters of a crackdown on sanctuary cities is the fatal shooting of Kate Steinle in 2015, on a San Francisco pier by a man who had been previously deported and who was released by local law enforcement.But pro-immigration advocates say they’re worried that Trump’s plans will wind up deporting much more than violent criminals and they’re gearing up for a fight, in the sanctuary cities and beyond.“These cities have reaffirmed they’re going to respect the dignity of all their residents,” said Matt Adams, legal director at the Seattle-based Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. “What they’re saying is, ‘We’re not going to use our resources to separate families, to deport children, to tear communities apart.’” US last_img read more

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2 Quakes Hit Near NevadaCalif Border Rumblings Felt Across Region

first_img 2 Quakes Hit Near Nevada-Calif. Border, Rumblings Felt Across Region By The Associated Press December 28, 2016 Updated: December 28, 2016 (USGS)  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   US Sharecenter_img Share this article Two earthquakes struck early Wednesday near Lake Tahoe, and their rumblings were felt across areas of two states. There were no immediate reports of problems.The U.S. Geological Surveys says the two magnitude 5.7 temblors were both centered in a remote area of Nevada near the California line, about 70 miles southeast of Lake Tahoe.The moderate quakes, which struck at 12:18 a.m. PST and then four minutes later, were followed by a series of smaller aftershocks.The Mineral County Sheriff’s Department in Hawthorne, Nevada, near the epicenter, says staffers felt both quakes, but they have not had any reports of injury or damage. The office says the quakes apparently did trigger burglar alarms at two businesses, and caused a rock slide that did not block a nearby highway.In addition to Lake Tahoe, the USGS says the quakes were felt in such areas as Carson City, Nevada, and Yosemite National Park and Mammoth Lakes in California, all roughly 60 miles from the epicenter Show Discussionlast_img read more

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