A grassroots group has warned MPs that the terrif

first_imgA grassroots group has warned MPs that the “terrifying insecurity” caused by the government’s regime of disability benefit assessments is driving disabled women to destitution, and even “hastening their deaths”.WinVisible has submitted evidence to the Commons work and pensions select committee about the impact of the assessments on some of the many disabled women they have supported with their employment and support allowance (ESA) and personal independence payment (PIP) claims.The campaigning organisation, which is based in north London and provides information, advocacy and support to disabled women, says the ESA and PIP assessment regimes are causing “a terrifying insecurity” among disabled women, and leading to “suicides or admissions to NHS psychiatric institutions”.Benefit cuts imposed by the government and implemented by assessors from contractors Maximus, Capita and Atos cause “enormous suffering, destitution and [are] hastening deaths of sick and disabled people”, says WinVisible.The evidence has been submitted as part of the committee’s inquiry into the PIP and ESA assessment regimes.Last week, Disability News Service (DNS) reported how the inquiry had produced more online evidence from the public than any other investigation ever held by a House of Commons select committee.In its written evidence to the inquiry, WinVisible says many women experience “particular discrimination and suspicion” about their eligibility for disability benefits, including those with invisible impairments; those with mental distress; survivors of child abuse, rape and domestic violence; mothers deemed not eligible for support because they are caring for their children; and traumatised refugees.One issue raised in the WinVisible evidence is that of disabled women whose PIP or ESA claims have been disallowed because they have missed their face-to-face assessments.They provide details of one woman who lost her ESA entitlement because she was not able to run for a bus, due to a long-term health condition, and missed her assessment, even though she had rung the centre to tell them she would be 10 minutes late.Another woman helped by WinVisible, a mental health service-user and child abuse survivor, was placed in the ESA work-related activity group after her assessment, and was pressured to apply for jobs.On one occasion, when she turned up to a meeting in tears, an adviser for the government contractor Maximus told her: “You can choose to be a victim or you can go and get a job.”Maximus was forced to apologise, and following intervention by WinVisible and the woman’s MP, the Department for Work and Pensions agreed to place the woman in the ESA support group, for those with the highest support needs.Another disabled woman helped by WinVisible had her benefits removed for several weeks because she had to cancel a face-to-face assessment so she could attend an urgent NHS appointment.One disabled woman told WinVisible: “The hoop jumping, form filling and getting support to get benefits, and keep them, has pushed me to the end of sanity and destroyed my faith in the powers that be.“I have been made to feel like a criminal and guilty before being charged.”WinVisible also raised concerns in its statement about the number of disabled women who face “unjust and unjustifiable” rejections of their requests for exemptions from face-to-face assessments.Claire Glasman (pictured), from WinVisible, told DNS that many disabled women became suicidal because of their experience of the benefit assessment system.She said: “They are absolutely distraught that their situation and their needs are not being taken into account, and they are faced with destitution.“We felt strongly that we wanted to have our say on what is happening to us and the women that we know.“It is very, very serious because people’s survival is at stake.”last_img read more

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Drone Technology Takes Filmmakers to New Heights

first_img 0% “It’s a ‘what-am-I-looking-at’ kind of situation,” said Flying Robot’s founder, Eddie Codel, who is a Mission resident.   All of the animals were dead long before they were transformed into drones, he added.  “There’s different purposes and niches that have been created around drones – I wanted to highlight some of the things that normally don’t get a lot of attention at other film festivals,” he said. The act of building and repairing drones, he said, is part of the technology’s riveting fascination for many “dronies.” The “aerial cinema” festival was the first of of its kind on the West Coast, and while privacy and public safety concerns continue to narrate the conversation around drones, Flying Robot, focused on the technology’s unprecedented cinematic and humanitarian uses.“I truly feel that festivals like this are bridging the gap in showing that art and creativity can be captured with a drone by telling stories in a ways that we weren’t able to several years ago,” said aerial videographer Christopher Saad. “We want to show the public that they can be used for amazing things, for humanitarian reasons.”Flying Robot Film Festival founder Eddie Codel showcased the winning films, shot using drone technology, at the Roxie Theater on November 19. Photo By Rajiv RaoOther videos showed drones being used to test water quality, monitor poaching, and track rainforest deforestation.Yet regulations for the new and rapidly growing technology are still lagging. A task force assigned with developing registration rules for drones will submit its recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration on Saturday.The push is an effort to keep track of the increasing numbers of drones entering national airspace, and comes as a result of “drone sightings” by airplane pilots and other alarming run-ins. In Seattle, a pilot attempted to fly a drone through a Ferris Wheel, causing the drone to crash. In the Mission, the technology is embraced with mixed emotions. Sam Durham, who was at the festival,  recounted how he was once confronted about his drone while attempting to fly on Bernal Hill.“Some guy came up to me and said ‘it’s the same technology used for so much chaos in the world,’” said Durham.  “I didn’t have a response for him at the time, but now I would say – ‘the same technology can be used for so much good.’”“I do think there’s a lot of fear around drones, largely because it’s a new thing,” said Codel. “But not all concerns are legitimate. Oftentimes when people complain about a drone spying on them it’s not actually the case.” When asked about the drone hype, Codel, who immersed himself in the hobby three years ago, explained that there is “something about a flying robot that is an extension of yourself.”Most of the drone and cinema enthusiasts that attended the festival attested to the drones’ unique ability of elevating film – and other industries –  to new heights. “Drones can be witnesses to things that we normally wouldn’t get to see,” said journalist and film critic Edie Sellers, who was one of the judges. “It’s revolutionizing all industries, from agriculture to film and journalism, and that’s why drones are so much of a buzzword at the moment.”Sellers said she was impressed with hundreds of submissions that organizers received from all around the world.  “Its an absolutely burgeoning market and drones have totally opened up filmmaking for the independent filmmaker – all of these overhead and crane shots that would normally cost thousands of dollars can now be done fairly inexpensively and quickly.”These “high-end” shots were evidenced in “Running into the Air,” the winning three-minute video by Austrian filmmaker Sebastian Woeber in the category “Cinematic: Postcard.”The clip depicts a breathtaking flight over Switzerland, in which the filmmaker steers his drone on a scenic tour past mountains tops, weaving through forests and flying just inches away from the surface of serene lake and rivers.“Often, drones encourage people to build and repair,” explained Codel. “It’s educational in the sense that we are learning about science, electronics, and learning how to be a good pilot.”The learning starts young, as became evident by the submissions in the festival’s Student Film category.  Quinn Muller, a 13-year-old student at the Mission-based Brightworks School, took the prize with “Electric Africa,” in which he tells the story of a solar energy company in East Africa, using drone videography. “There is no denying that technology is the future for our children – so it’s all about being raised with the right kinds of guidelines and motivations in mind in terms of how they’re using it,” said Quinn’s mother, Annie Muller, who accepted the award on his behalf. Her son is currently back in Africa, she explained, shooting his second drone film. The winner of the “drones for good” category of the first Flying Robot International Film Festival shows Mark Jacobson using humanitarian drones to “end the use of starvation and medical deprivation as weapons of war.”  In the video, Jacobson and others with the Syria Airlift Project can be seen airlifting life-saving supplies into war zones in Syria via drones.Other categories at the festival of 20 short videos shown Thursday at the Roxie Theater included Cinematic, Narrative, Student Film, I Made That!, WTF LOL, Aerial Sports, and Drones For Good.Perhaps most provoking was a video called “Compilation,” the winner of “I Made That!” category in which the five minute clip shows Dutch drone enthusiast and apparent taxidermist aficionado Bart Jansen turning his deceased cat – as well as an ostrich, shark, and rat – into a flying drones.center_img Tags: tech Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img read more

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SAINTS have further strengthened their partnership

first_imgSAINTS have further strengthened their partnership with South Stand sponsors Solarking.The agreement will see the company became the Club’s Official Green Partner and develop the successful existing relationship.Solarking supply, design, install and commission various micro-generation technologies including LED lighting, Solar PV and Thermal and Heat Pumps to commercial and domestic customers.They sponsored the South Stand in Saints’ inaugural season at Langtree Park and the agreement realises a significant investment in the club.“This partnership demonstrates we are leading the way in green innovation,” said Saints Head of Sales and Marketing Dave Hutchinson. “Solarking will become our Official Green Partner – a unique symbol of our commitment to sustainability.“Solarking have shown fantastic support for Saints since day one of our new home here at Langtree Park and to further strengthen our partnership is typical of the loyalty a local company such as Solarking give to the club.“We are looking forward to many new initiatives and working together in the future.”Andy Mikhail from Solarking added: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with the Saints. There is a strong synergy between both our brands and we are looking forward to developing that relationship further.”Solarking will write a Green Energy Blog each month to keep fans and commercial partners up to date with the latest news and will sponsor a special half time game which is sure to keep all fans and guests entertained.You can find out more about Solarking by logging on to www.solarkinguk.comlast_img read more

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NATHAN Brown expects his side to produce a strong

first_imgNATHAN Brown expects his side to produce a strong performance at Castleford following their disappointing loss to Hull KR last Friday.He reiterated the comments ahead of this Sunday’s clash at the Wish Communications Stadium.“The reality was we played bad wet weather football and they played smart wet weather football,” he said. “We expected to do better on the back of our two previous performances and we competed hard to give ourselves a chance, but didn’t kick well or play to the conditions.“Hull KR didn’t play a great deal better, but they kicked the ball early and put it on the ground.“We could have had Sonny Bill Williams on the right and it wouldn’t have mattered as we didn’t play smart. Poor old Stuart (Howarth) copped fair amount of flak but he didn’t get a chance to have an impact on the game. It’s probably not fair on him and he played with a nasty injury too. There’s a certain type of footy to play in wet weather and we didn’t do it.”He continued: “I’ve been involved at several clubs where there has been big change – we went through mass change twice at St George – but I know what we are doing here is right. However, the reality is the squad is fit and more than capable of doing well if we all buy in together.“When players are leaving it can go two ways – it can finish bad or players can go out on a high. A lot of it has to come from within the group and the departing players.“One we have just announced, Francis Meli, told the boys last week he was leaving but he wants to have a big finish.“But the reality is people know there are a lot of players going and we have young kids and well documented ones coming in. But everyone would agree with the players we have fit, if we hadn’t have lost them in the long term, we would have won our fair share of games and we wouldn’t be having these conversations.“It’s no coincidence that when we got James Roby and Jonny Lomax back, Jon Wilkin returned from suspension and Gaz O’Brien came in we had good results. That’s why the weekend was disappointing. I’m still optimistic for the end of the year but we have to play well.“We have a lot to play for going forward. The boys take pride in how they play and I’m sure there will be a statement on Sunday.”Saints face a Castleford side fresh off the back of a win over Wigan on Sunday – but Brown wants his charges to focus on their own performance.“If we play how we can then we will be hard to beat,” he added. “Daryl (Powell) has done well since he went there and Rangi Chase is a great player but we have to concentrate on doing the stuff we can do well.”Tickets for Sunday’s game remain on sale from the Ticket Office at Langtree Park and details are here.last_img read more

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HERE are another four players who will tour Austra

first_imgHERE are another four players who will tour Australia in October with the Academy.Kieron Herbert is a wing from Orrell St James.David Hewitt is a stand off who signed from Bold Miners.Morgan Knowles is a stand off or loose forward who signed from Barrow Island.Ross McCauley is a prop forward who signed from Bold Miners, having previously played at Pilkington Recs.Many thanks to the sponsors who made the trip possible for this quartet.They are:DJH Builders MB & D Clarke NewsagentsBrunskill’s The Body RehabCollins Reinforcements Premier WealthEnglish Homes Building ContractorLeck Construction Ltd North Devon Loft Conversions Ulverston High SchoolOne Stop CoatingsAnother four players will be introduced tomorrow.For all the latest tour news and player introductions, click here.last_img read more

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Salvation Army volunteers on the way to help Irma victims

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) –As Floridians start to pick up the pieces after Hurricane Irma, volunteers from the Salvation Army in Wilmington are on their way to help.“It breaks my heart, been through it, firsthand, seeing it. It really hits me in the feels because I know what they’re going through,” said Salvation Army volunteer Anthony Fox.- Advertisement – Irma barreled through Florida over the weekend, leaving devastation in its wake. The flooding in Jacksonville is some of the worst in more than 150 years.“As you see those storms coming on and you see the storm surges and you see the pictures and you watch the radar maps and you hear the voice of the weathermen and you just know what’s coming. You begin to start praying for the people who you know are in the impact of that storm,” said the Salvation Army of Wilmington’s Maj. Mark Craddock.As the victims of Irma try to pick up the pieces, they’ll have some help.Related Article: Track when storm debris will be picked up in WilmingtonVolunteers from the Salvation Army in Wilmington are on the way. They’ll operate a canteen and provide a hot meal, water, and other supplies to those affected by the storm.Fox has lived through hurricanes in Florida and says he’s excited to get the opportunity to help people in need.“Just getting a hot meal in their belly, something fresh in their belly is a good, uplifting thing. I hope we are able to minister a little bit and talk to folks and uplift their spirits and let them know we’re here and doing the best we can do,” said Fox.For fourteen days they will be helping, while showing the Port City that their contributions matter.“We’re very thrilled that we have the opportunity to support, one, our fellow Americans who have been impacted by Hurricane Irma, and then also just to help people in Wilmington to see that their investments in the Salvation Army really do pay off,” said Craddock.If you would like to contribute to the Salvation Army’s relief efforts for those affected by Irma and Harvey, financial donations are encouraged.You can go to helpsalvationarmy.org, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY, mail checks to The Salvation Army, PO BOX 1959, Atlanta, GA, 30301, or text STORM to 51555 to give.last_img read more

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first_img In this week’s edition of Cape Fear History and Mysteries, we take a look back at the Port City’s very own Screen Gems Studios. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Lights, camera, action.Chucky Hues was a key grip that came to America in 1985 and was one of the very first to help Screen Gems and North Carolina become East Coast Hollywood.- Advertisement – last_img

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GenX remains in focus nearly one year later multiple bills filed

first_img “Protecting the environment should be rule one before we incentivize and allow these corporations to come in here and do what they’re doing,” New Hanover County Chairman Woody White said.A lot has happened since the region first learned about the chemical in the river.“So I look back on the last year and I see tremendous accomplishments and tremendous improvements, but still so much has to be done moving forward,” White said.Related Article: How school safety has evolved since 1999 Columbine school shootingThursday in Raleigh there was action.In an effort to get more answers, and address the needs of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Environmental Quality, Representative Deb Butler, a New Hanover County Democrat, filed House Bill 968.However, the GenX plan more likely to come up for vote came a short time later — a compromise from Republicans.After failing to reach an agreement last winter, North Carolina legislative Republicans from our area have worked out a plan to fund research and clean up efforts for chemicals like GenX.Senators Michael Lee and Bill Rabon and Representatives Ted Davis, Holly Grange, Frank Iler and William Brisson filed identical bills in their chambers Thursday.“It’s one that I don’t think compares well,” Butler said. “Puts money in the hands of what’s called a collaboratory instead of the watchdog agencies that really have the power to stop polluters. So again, these folks in the general assembly have had a veto proof super majority well before GenX. If they had wanted to do something aggressive they could have, but ironically they filed it hours after I filed mine.”The Republican bills earmark $12 million for GenX, $8 million of which will go to UNC for research on emerging contaminants.It also gives Governor Roy Cooper the option to shut down the Chemours plant company responsible for the discharge.It’s a move Butler thinks is a setup.“When they give him a grant of authority, look behind the curtain and see what the true objective is,” Butler said.The Republican bills would also make Chemours provide water to the homes with private wells that were affected and funding for the Department of Environmental Quality to hire additional staff. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It’s been almost a year since we learned about GenX in the Cape Fear River.The StarNews headline about GenX in the Cape Fear River caused ripples around the region.- Advertisement – last_img read more

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New Hanover County establishes Donations Hub

first_img A drop-off center will open early next week to accept bulk amounts or pallets by reservation only.  The following items will be accepted at this site:BatteriesBlanketsBleachBroomsCleaning suppliesDeodorantDisposable razorsDiapersDry Pet FoodFeminine products and padsFormulaHygiene itemsMopsTowelsWipesThose who have bulk donations are asked to call the Donations Hub call center at (910) 798-7337 to schedule delivery. Smaller quantities of these items will be directed to organizations and other drop-off sites in the community.“The outpouring of generosity from our residents and those outside of New Hanover County has been astounding,” said New Hanover County Manager Chris Coudriet. “This Donations Hub allows us to coordinate the receipt of large donations and allows us to direct residents in need to appropriate resources.”Related Article: Oak Island Pier set to reopen WednesdayResidents in need of supplies can also visit EmergencyNHC.com or call the Donations Hub call center at (910) 798-7337 for information on where to pick up items they need. NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (NEWS RELEASE) – New Hanover County has established a “Donations Hub” to facilitate ways for individuals and organizations to donate supplies and volunteer to assist in hurricane recovery efforts in our community.Information on how to volunteer and where to donate needed supplies can be found at EmergencyNHC.com or by calling the Donations Hub call center at (910) 798-7337 which will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. until further notice.- Advertisement – last_img read more

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Case for who is the rightful Columbus County Sheriff could be decided

first_img It’s been two months since Sheriff Greene was sworn into office. Hatcher challenged Greene’s oath of office a month ago. That was after the state board of elections itself said Greene should not have been sworn in.Now, final documents were submitted to the Columbus County Superior Court Tuesday in the case for who is the legal sheriff of Columbus County.The case was scheduled to go before a jury in possibly Pender County. Now it is confirmed that it will be a trial before a judge in Whiteville. That judge will ultimately decide who will be sheriff.Related Article: Multiple Tabor City homes struck by bulletsTuesday, Hatcher’s attorneys laid out several arguments for why Sheriff Jody Greene should not hold office. One being the lack of certification of the race by county elections officials.“..The Certificate of Election was not delivered/issued to Mr. Greene,” wrote the attorneys.Another reason being the appealed protests that are still pending a review by the newly appointed state board of elections. The Columbus County board of elections dismissed the protests.The attorneys go on to reference the question surrounding Sheriff Greene’s true residence. Greene has said his residence in Cerro Gordo is a camper that is mostly for his dogs. His wife, Angie, told us that was their actual home. Both saying state law allows for it.However, Hatcher’s attorneys cite county code that said a ‘camper’ is not considered a permanent dwelling. They claim Greene has no rightful home in Columbus County. They’ve asked the judge to determine that and if it is confirmed, then Greene would be violating state law and have no lawful claim to be sheriff in a county he does not live in.The attorneys even referenced our coverage on the issue.Initially, Hatcher was granted a trial to decide his case. On Tuesday, documents showed Greene wants a judge to decide the case out of court. Statements by Greene’s attorneys also claim Hatcher has shifted to desire the matter to be decided by summary judgment, outside a trial, as well.Hatcher’s attorneys submitted documents that say the former sheriff is requesting a ‘Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings’.Greene’s attorneys have asked for summary judgment in the case. That request of the judge comes as they claim most of the issues that Hatcher has brought up involve the state board of elections.“Most of the materials attached to his [Hatcher’s] motion for judgment are related to extrinsic matters pending before the North Carolina State Board of Elections,” said Greene’s attorneys also adding that, “Plaintiff [Hatcher] has not moved for summary judgment within the parameters of the Scheduling Order.”The depositions are expected to be seen by Wake County Superior Court judge A. Graham Shirley in Whiteville Friday. The expected bench trial is set for next week. WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) — The case for who is the lawful sheriff of Columbus County continues.Democrat Lewis Hatcher considers himself the rightful sheriff despite losing to Republican Jody Greene in the November election.- Advertisement – last_img read more

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