The equality watchdog has been forced by a committ

first_imgThe equality watchdog has been forced by a committee of peers to defend its performance on ensuring that disabled people are protected by the Equality Act.Three senior figures from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) were giving evidence to the committee set up by the House of Lords to examine the impact of Labour’s Equality Act 2010 on disabled people.But they faced tough questioning on concerns that the commission had failed to ensure the act was being enforced properly, and to tell disabled people what action it was taking on their behalf.Baroness O’Neill, the commission’s chair, insisted that its budget was “adequate to fulfill our functions” but that it now needed to look “very carefully at the most effective and affordable ways of intervening in particular cases”.She said the commission now does more “partnership working”, encouraging other organisations to “pay better and closer attention to their legal responsibilities”.Last year, of the 41 legal cases it took, 19 were disability-related, she said.But Baroness [Jane] Campbell, a former commissioner with both the Disability Rights Commission and the EHRC, was critical of the EHRC’s apparent failure to publicise its strategy for enforcing the Equality Act on its website.She asked Baroness O’Neill: “What strategy do you employ to ensure that the disability provisions of the act are fully enforced and how do you choose the [legal] cases you intervene in and how do you monitor the effectiveness of your approach?“How well do you think it is working and why don’t we know about it?”Baroness O’Neill said that the commission was a “strategic regulator” and it was the courts’ job to enforce the Equality Act.She said: “The tools we have are not the tools of enforcement. We have a strategic litigation policy, which is crucial for decisions about where and how we support cases.“Naturally, given the budget as it really is there is no question of being able to support every single case that comes up.”The Conservative peer Lord [Chris] Holmes (pictured), the commission’s disability commissioner, said that no disability-related legal case was taken or not taken without consultation with the EHRC’s disability committee, which he chairs.Lord Holmes said: “No matter how many people any commission had, be it an equality commission or a disability-specific commission, it is ultimately going to come down to the work that happens with our partners, with organisations that need to be on the hook for this.”He said the commission needed to make “strategic interventions to change a sector or a system or a piece of our society”, and to be “resourceful as well as resource-rich”.But Baroness Campbell said the Disability Rights Commission had also worked with partners and had been an “empowering organisation”.She said: “What we are trying to get to the bottom of is why so many disabled people are saying to us, ‘We don’t know what the EHRC are doing. We used to have a dynamic relationship with the predecessor body, we understand they don’t have as many resources and can’t do as many things [as the DRC], but quite frankly we don’t have a feel for what they are doing for us.’“How do you think that we can re-engage that dynamic approach rather than what seems to be a highly strategic, intangible approach?”Lord Holmes said he agreed with Baroness Campbell, and said that since taking over as disability commissioner, and recruiting a new disability committee, he had been working on increasing engagement with stakeholders.He said the new disability committee was “a very high calibre group of people”, but “only came on stream fully in February”.As part of the committee’s new engagement strategy, it is holding meetings each year in Scotland, Wales and in one of the English regions, whereas previously they were all held in London.Lord Holmes said: “It is absolutely critical that we do re-engage and I take your point entirely that the voices of organisations, disabled people’s user-led organisations, individual disabled people, we need that intel and I am very committed to that level of engagement.”He said the first regional meeting was held in Cardiff in May, with another due in Manchester next week, in which the committee will engage with the local council, disabled people’s organisations and other bodies.last_img read more

Developments in Development Outbound

first_img 0% You may have heard that one third of Bay Area residents are considering getting the hell out of Dodge because this area is ludicrously expensive and it takes absolutely forever to get anywhere. Better yet, those most likely to express that opinion, according to the East Bay Times, are those who have only arrived within the last five years. But less appealing is the report that the people actually leaving, usually not according to plan, are the working class. Curbed reports that households with an income below $30,000 a year represent 12.4 percent of the population, yet somehow make up almost 20 percent of those leaving San Francisco and Oakland.The fact that this migration and shift in perspective is happening not only in San Francisco, but around the Bay Area, may be part of the impetus behind the San Francisco Bay Area Renter’s Federation’s (yes, SFBARF) plan to sue area suburbs into compliance with a statewide density law that requires them to build more housing. The Chronicle has an in-depth look at the pro-development group’s push to build housing in Lafayette. I wonder if the cost of living will make recent college grads among those either seeking to or being forced to move away.   Curbed reports that varying real estate site estimates indicate recent graduates are likely to pay between 63 and 79 percent of their income in rent and those estimates are based on landing a job straight out of college that pays more than $4,000 a month. Tags: Developments in Development • housing Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%center_img Oh, and about the traffic? The city’s much-protested tech shuttle buses, which deliver tech commuters to Silicon Valley, are getting a bad rap on traffic violations. At least that’s what an NBC Bay Area investigation found – hundreds of violations a year, mostly for conflicts with the local public transit system.Here’s what’s going on with local businesses and storefronts: “San Francisco’s Last Gun Shop,” High Bridge Arms, which closed at the end of last year is going to become…a pot shop? 7×7 has the scoop on who’s behind the planned cannabis dispensary. Remember Big House, the cheap-stuff retailer on Mission between 22nd and 23rd that went up in flames a few months before the 22nd and Mission corner building did? Well, SocketSite snooped up some plans that were filed for the site, indicating that a 16-unit condo building might be constructed there – though the blogger there is skeptical, as the site isn’t entitled yet and it’s being marketed for $5.9 million.People with kitchens and lovers of inexpensive produce, rejoice! Grocery Outlet was approved by the planning commission to open at the site of the former DeLano’s market on South Van Ness.And finally, after a several-month hiatus, Laszlo, the bar belonging to Foreign Cinema, reopened on Thursday, with an updated interior, film-themed drinks, and the restaurant’s full menu available inside the bar, Hoodline reports. last_img read more

District 9 Candidates Split on Proposed Tech Tax

first_imgI want to work collaboratively with these communities to raise greater revenue from tech companies to build affordable housing and to solve our homeless crisis.Melissa San Miguel, education advocateThe tech tax was wrong, ill-conceived, and short-sighted. It’s not surprising that it would come out of our woefully misguided leaders who simply need to go. The tax bizarrely targeted for punishment an industry that has helped to grow our local economy and make our region the envy of the world. Tech companies and their workers are an important part of the San Francisco community. Yes — we are in a housing crisis that demands action, but leaders create legislation like this to divide our communities and distract us from the fact they have failed in putting in the work and serving the community. Not only was this a bad tax, it tried to turn us against each other. We need leadership, not scapegoating. We need real solutions, not political games. What do you think of the proposed tax on tech firms? Why is this the right, or wrong, way of extracting wealth from tech companies to alleviate the housing crisis?Respuestas en español aquí.Joshua Arce, community liaison for Laborers Local 261I believe everyone needs to pay their fair share. Those doing the best in this economy should help those who are struggling.The technology sector should and I believe is ready to do more for local business, local workers and housing, this should be encouraged.I don’t believe that only taxing one industry when there are so many others earning substantial profits makes sense. Local voters agree, only a few years ago we overwhelmingly passed Proposition E to eliminate the payroll tax and replace it with a profits based tax. This is a fairer tax system.I believe we should look for more money to pay for housing and homeless services, but this revenue should be identified across all industries.Iswari España, training officer with the San Francisco Human Services AgencyI find it unacceptable and unfair that some companies don’t pay their equal share of tax revenue, yet they conduct business in our city.A report released by the Controller’s Office said that the tax could generate between $70 to $140 million in revenue and reduce revenue from small business registration fees by $5.3 million, a good amount to alleviate the housing situation. It’s beyond me how city officials are contemplating squashing the idea over the argument that businesses will suffer a loss. The mere implication that jobs will be lost is absurd. The cost of fair business practices should not be passed down to workers (tech workers) and the city should regulate the process.Hillary Ronen, chief of staff for Supervisor David CamposLegislation that shifted our payroll tax to gross receipts, removed stock options from the business tax, and created tax breaks designed to lure tech companies into the city has created an economy that’s more profitable for tech startups over other types of business.I believe it’s time to recalibrate our business taxes to create more equity in the system and for industries that are just as important to our economy: like tourism, biotechnology, and the production of locally made goods.However, I’m concerned about a harmful dynamic in San Francisco that I believe unfairly blames tech workers for the city’s most difficult challenges. This dynamic is often fueled by the media. I think there’s a natural unity between tech workers who are trying to disrupt and improve outdated systems, and the people fighting for systemic reform and economic equality. Last week, a proposed ballot measure that would have levied a 1.5 percent payroll tax on tech companies in San Francisco died in committee before making it to the Board of Supervisors for a full vote.Its supporters hoped some $115 million could be raised each year from tech companies in the city, establishing a fund that would be used for building affordable housing and addressing homelessness.Opponents said residents would never support the measure and pointed to a report by the city’s chief economist that said the tax would likely harm the city by reducing demand within the local economy.We decided to ask candidates for District 9 supervisor what they thought of the tax and what other means they would try to extract wealth from tech companies to address the housing crisis. 43 Questions is a weekly series — started 43 weeks before Election Day — to question the candidates running for District 9 supervisor. Send us questions to info@missionlocal.com and let us know in comments or in an email if you think candidates have answered as asked. center_img 0% Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img read more

Public education advocates sound off on Prop G and SFs 185 million

first_imgJerry EatonJerry Eaton, who is on the board of directors for California Teachers Association for District A, attended the rally to support his chapter.By passing Prop. G last summer, he said it showed that “San Francisco was trying to take care of its own.”Eaton said that while most parents know this, it’s worth noting: “Educators’ working conditions are the students’ learning conditions — and that’s why we’re here.” She feels the voters made a promise to educators by passing Prop G. “This was the will of the people,” said Kitchell, who also serves on the executive board of the United Educators of San Francisco. “It’s time to support the will of the people.”Kitchell is holding a progress report of supervisors who, she said, have committed to supporting public-school funding. So far, that includes Gordon Mar, Matt Haney, Shamann Walton and Hillary Ronen — all of whom attended and spoke at Tuesday’s rally. She hopes that all of the supervisors will uphold the will of the people.  Theresa Montaño“We’re tired of having to beg for funding for public education,” said Theresa Montaño, the vice president for the California Teachers Association. “When locals go the extra mile to work hard through electoral politics, to build coalitions, to convince the voters that our schools need funding, that vote should be respected.”While she’s grateful for the funding that the supervisors are offering, she believes it is not enough. “It’s just not enough and we don’t need it a couple of years from now,” she said. “We need it now.” Sabrina Hall“I’m here to stand up and fight for my children because they’re the future,” said Sabrina Hall, a parent of three students who attend John O’Connell High, Everett Middle, and Paul Revere Elementary.While she’s at the rally to support her children’s education, she’s also fighting for their teachers. “Our teachers are with our kids more than parents are with them,” she said. Kate MorganAnother parent also brought her children to the rally. “They’re the future of San Francisco,” said Kate Morgan.“It’s very important for them to see that for our public education to thrive and survive, you have to put in the effort, show up, and support your teachers,” she said.“They love their teachers,” she said. “Their teachers are with them every day and they change everything for a lot of kids, so I hope we can get them paid.” Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletter Comments from educators, parents and union members during Tuesday’s rally to fund public education in San Francisco — before the Board of Supervisors meeting was shut down by demonstrators:Susan KitchellSusan Kitchell has worked in education for more than 20 years. Having been evicted before, the school nurse from Hilltop High School doesn’t know how much longer she’ll be able to remain in the city without the seven percent salary increase that Prop. G — which voters passed in June 2018 — would provide. “We’re not saying we deserve more than the homeless or housing advocates or early childhood [education],” she said. “The issue is there needs to be a fair share for everyone.” Email Address Van Cedric WilliamsPublic education is the lifeline of future generations, said Van Cedric Williams, the treasurer for the United Educators of San Francisco.“Prop. G was our first and best attempt to show a sense of respect to our teachers: to show that they matter and to show families that we want [teachers] to stay in their community,” said Williams.He, too, would like the elected officials to show constituents that public education is important: “How much do they value investing in our future kids and our teachers?” Dana RichDana Rich, a paraeducator at John O’Connell High School, has worked in education for over two decades.She attended the rally because she wanted to stand behind her fellow teachers. “We need to invest in our young people’s education,” she said. “And I think we need to have excellent public schools: that’s so important for a democracy.” Susan SolomonAs president of the United Educators of San Francisco, Susan Solomon said that one way to prioritize students is to secure additional funding for teachers.One major aspect of Prop. G was to increase educators’ salaries by seven percent, which, she said, would undoubtedly increase teacher morale.“We know from hearing from our members that they’re more able to pay off their student loans. Some paraeducators can maybe give up their second or third job — and teachers, by the way,” said Solomon, who has worked in education for 41 years. “And that makes us more present for our students.”last_img read more

JON Wilkin is calling for Saints best performance

first_imgJON Wilkin is calling for Saints ‘best performance of the season’ when his side head into the Wolves lair this Thursday.They may be in good form with 11 wins from the last 12 but will need to be a lot better in the semi-final if they want to progress according to the club’s captain.“We wanted to do well in the Super 8s and come into this game in decent form,” he said. “We can take confidence from that run going into the semi-final but we know we will need to be at our best and probably produce our best performance of the season to progress.“We have a good track record at Warrington and enjoy playing there. But the confidence we take in has to come from our record over the last three months.“Hull and Warrington have set the standard this season and we have a chance to upset what many think will be the result.“They have had a great year and have been rewarded. They are a dynamic team and narrowly missed out in the cup final. We are aware of their strengths and we are planning and plotting to turn them over to get to Old Trafford.“Outside the group we have bene written off but what people believe outside doesn’t reflect our confidence and belief. I don’t mind going into the game as favourite or underdogs because the margin between the two sides is tiny anyway.”If Saints needed any motivation ahead of the game they could look to the success of their unbeaten 19s who won the Grand Final on Sunday.It’s something that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the senior players in the squad – including Captain Wilkin.“It’s a fantastic achievement,” he added. “For some it would be their last game whilst some will join the first team squad and have an opportunity for a career in the game. The challenge they now have is to become the next internationals at St Helens. We need that next crop to come through.“The challenge for them is to be hungry and have enough desire to smash their way into the first team, then the Dream Team and an England shirt.“The result is fantastic for the club and deserves to be celebrated but now they need to be the best they can be as an adult against the best of Super League.”Very limited tickets remain on sale for Thursday’s game from the Ticket Office, via 01744 455 052 and online.last_img read more

ADAM Swift bagged two tries as Saints beat Warring

first_imgADAM Swift bagged two tries as Saints beat Warrington 31-6 at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Friday night.The winger took his club tally to 73 in a comprehensive victory.Aided and abetted by the superb Matty Smith – who was making his latest debut for the club – Saints dominated throughout and overwhelmed their opponents.Yet, ironically, it took them 30 minutes to break the deadlock.But when they did, they ran in three tries in around seven minutes.After having one chalked off for a forward pass, James Roby’s early kick was lost in goal and Zeb Taia touched down.Five minutes later they extended the lead further and it was thanks to Smith.He saw Jack Owens one on one with his winger and put a perfect lofted kick on a plate for him to score in the corner.And two minutes later they went in again.Breaking from inside their own half Fages linked up with Taia to put Percival away on a 60 metre break.He then simply turned it outside for Swift to go over.Percival three from three with the boot.Saints repelled a strong attack from the visitors as the half time hooter rang but were powerless to stop Kurt Gidley two minutes into the second half.Percival took Saints’ lead out to 14 points with a penalty after 55 minutes and ten minutes later the game was safe.From 40 out, Wilkin stabbed the ball along the floor into the corner and Swift outpaced Ratchford to touch down.Matty Smith tagged on a drop goal with seven left to play to cap a fine performance before Alex Walmsley flew onto the ball at full pace for game, set and match.Match Summary:Saints:Tries: Taia, Owens, Swift (2), WalmsleyGoals: Percival (5 from 7)Drop: SmithWolves:Tries: GidleyGoals: Ratchford (1 from 1)Penalties Awarded:Saints: 9Wolves: 8HT: 18-0FT: 31-6REF: J ChildATT: 11,598Teams:Saints:2. Tommy Makinson; 21. Jack Owens, 3. Ryan Morgan, 4. Mark Percival, 5. Adam Swift; 6. Theo Fages, 7. Matty Smith; 8. Alex Walmsley, 17. Tommy Lee, 14. Luke Douglas, 36. Zeb Taia, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 12. Jon Wilkin.Subs: 9. James Roby, 10. Kyle Amor, 15. Adam Walker, 18. Dominique Peyroux.Warrington:1. Stefan Ratchford; 5. Matthew Russell, 3. Rhys Evans, 20. Toby King, 26. Jack Johnson; 6. Kevin Brown, 7. Kurt Gidley; 8. Chris Hill, 9. Daryl Clark, 14. Mike Cooper, 34. Ben Westwood, 12. Jack Hughes, 13. Joe Westerman.Subs: 10. Ashton Sims, 15. Brad Dwyer, 17. Dominic Crosby, 28. Harvey Livett.last_img read more

Gymnastics sex abuse scandal hits close to home for local gymnast

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The sex abuse scandal surrounding USA gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar hits close to home for an owner of Wilmington’s Carolina Gymnastics.The owner’s daughter competed with victim Jessica Howard, who was one of the first gymnasts to speak out about the abuse.Even though thousands of girls across the country compete and train as gymnasts, it seems their world is small.- Advertisement – Carolina Gymnastics Academy Co-Owner Michele Zapple and her daughter know USA gymnastics hall of famer Jessica Howard.They have spoken with her since she came forward about her sexual assault. Zapple said it sickens her, but this type of abuse can happen anywhere.“It’s happening in every sport. It’s not just happening in Hollywood or politics, it’s happening everywhere and I think people just need to be aware, and believe the children. I mean they should have been believed from the very beginning,” Zapple said.Related Article: Jury convicts driver who had to be revived with Narcan in crash that killed 2-year-oldMendy Melton’s daughter takes gymnastics and she said she had trouble watching the trial.“Listening to the testimonies was very difficult for many of the moms because it just, ya know, that could be your child,” Melton said.Parents and coaches here in Wilmington are heartbroken to hear of Dr. Larry Nassar’s crimes. He will spend the rest of his life in prison for sexually assaulting more than 150 women and girls.“Overall it’s a little terrifying when you hear a story like that and I don’t think it’s just for gymnastics. I think it’s for really any competitive sport that requires as much training as gymnastics does.” Melton said.Zapple hasn’t talked about the trial with her gymnasts, but she’s ready to share an important message.“They should always tell if that ever happened and if the first grown up does not help, they need to try again and again,” Zapple said.She also said it is important for all gym owners and parents to always be aware.last_img read more

Street fair kicks off weekend Azalea fun

first_img “Local artist come out and sell their wears. A lot of people selling local food and dishes so you really get a feel for what is going on in local North Carolina, Wilmington area,” Daniel Halstead said.Halstead is a first time visitor to the street fair, but said he had to come check out everything it had to offer.With more than 250 vendors ands traditional fair food there is something for everyone.Related Article: Lane closures start next week for section of MLK Parkway in Wilmington“Experience the whole thing. Take in the parade, all the street vendors, stay for the bands, listen to the music and just enjoy our beautiful city,” Charlotte Buckley said.While people enjoy the goods and unique vendors, one craftsman said traveling to street fair to street fair is part of his everyday life.“I think it’s great you get to meet a lot of people, you make friends with other vendors. I just had another wood turner come by that I’ve become good friends with over the years, him and his wife. You get to know families, so it’s really a good way to meet people all over,” vendor Charlie Crosby said.Crosby said when someone buys one of his creations it means more than just making a sale.“It shows that I’m making something worth while. Everybody likes to be appreciated so when somebody comes in and buys one of my pins I feel appreciated,” Crosby said.Crosby said he hopes the street fair stays busy all weekend long. Hundreds downtown Wilmington for Azalea Festival Street Fair (Photo: Jenna Kurzyna/WWAY) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Azalea Festival Street Fair kicked off tonight and is bringing hundreds of people downtown to check out all the fun. – Advertisement – last_img read more

New traffic lights coming to NC 133

first_img The North Carolina Department of Transportation says traffic lights need to be installed to help deal with traffic in the area and lower the rate of speeding and accidents. The developers of Mallory Creek have to put in the lights and Leland officials say this is a necessary change.“At the present time, you’ve got all this traffic converging on this two lane highway. The speed limit’s 55. We’ve got the fire station there. So something had to give,” Batleman said.Many people in the area says it would be a welcome addition to NC 133.Related Article: Brunswick County issues evacuations; shelters to open inland“It will control the speed a lot better. There’s that distance between the two is going to keep people from getting up to too fast a speed,” Westport resident Garry Vanover said.“The community alone has 450 houses and they’re predicting 650. So, that’s a lot of cars to go in and out,” Mallory Creek resident Sylvia Ritchie said.All they want is for their drive to and from home to be a little safer.The developers of Mallory Creek are in the process of asking NCDOT to put up only one traffic light instead of two. Leland Mayor Pro Tem Pat Batleman says the new light will be up this year. LELAND, NC (WWAY) — Speeding and accident are not unusual on NC 133 in Brunswick County. But some changes are on the way that could make a big difference, especially for people who live in Mallory Creek and Westport.“Two traffic lights. They want one here at the Westport intersection and they want one down by the Mallory Creek intersection,” Leland Mayor Pro Tem Pat Batleman said.- Advertisement – last_img read more

MOTSU tries to calm nerves and concerns for future plans

first_imgCAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — An important part of our nation’s security is in Brunswick County.The Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point is one of the largest military terminals in the world. This military terminal specializes in explosive safety.- Advertisement – Meetings were held Monday to allow the public to learn about their land use study and a rapidly growing population that is approaching their blast zone. It was a packed house as more than 50 people came out to Carolina Beach town hall to ask questions and express their concerns when it came to the largest military terminal in the world.“They walk away from here having a much better understanding of the criticality of the mission of delivering ammo and explosives to US forces around the world,” Carolina Beach mayor Joe Benson said.The main point they are addressing is explosive safety working distances. MOTSU officials gave a presentation to showcase what this terminal can mean for the future.Related Article: Snow’s Cut Bridge to open at noon to residents, business owners“This discussion is to address the land around the terminal and what is compatible so that we can maintain explosive safety, at the same time, working with our community partners to determine what we can and can’t do in those lands immediately surrounding the terminal,” MOTSU Installation Commander Marc Mueller said.There were some questions about eminent domain and possible risk factors as the area continues to grow, but every question was answered. Mayor Joe Benson hopes the community gets one thing out of this.“I hope they have a clear understanding of how important Sunny Point is for National Defense. And I think that folks that came here walk away with that knowledge,” Benson said.Mueller said their other major concerns is hearing the local community and cooperating with them as a best as possible.last_img read more

Burgaw man wanted on kidnapping assault charges

first_img Deputies say Hayes is 6’1” and weighs approximately 190 lbs.He’s wanted for second degree kidnapping, assault by pointing a gun and communicating threats.If you know any information, contact the Pender County Sheriff’s Office, Detective-Sergeant Mark Lobel at (910) 259-1515. Mugshot of Eric M Hayes (Photo: WWAY) PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Deputies are searching for a Burgaw man wanted on several charges including kidnapping and communicating threats.The Pender County Sheriff’s Office is looking for 42-year-old Eric M Hayes.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Podcast explores events leading up to disappearance of Ebonee Spears

first_imgEbonee Spears (Photo: MGN Online/Family) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A new podcast episode delves into the disappearance of a Wilmington woman who has been missing since January of 2016.The Vanished Podcast, which features stories of people who have gone missing, features the story of Ebonee Spears and the events leading up to her disappearance.- Advertisement – Spears has been featured in WWAY’s Hannah Patrick’s Unsolved series.The Vanished Podcast about Spears is the 181st episode of a missing person highlighted by the website.The podcast is released weekly. Each episode tells of missing persons across the country.Related Article: New Hanover County man accused of shooting, killing neighbor’s dogYou can submit a missing persons case for The Vanished Podcast to investigate.Listen to the podcast here.last_img read more

Mojangs Minecraft followup Cobalt gets release date

first_imgMinecraft’s follow up, Cobalt was originally set for release around October 2015, but was held back at almost the last minute. Image Credit: IGN Advertisement To date, Mojang has enjoyed remarkable success almost exclusively from the strength of one game — Minecraft. The Microsoft-owned Swedish studio is about to test its luck with its next major game though, finally setting a release date for the delayed Cobalt.The side-scrolling action game, developed by three-person studio Oxeye Games and published by Mojang, will launch on Steam, Xbox One, and Xbox 360 on 2 February. It’ll set you back $19.99 “or equivalent”, although UK specific prices haven’t been set yet.Cobalt was originally set for release around October 2015, but was held back at almost the last minute because Oxeye said it was “buggier than we’re comfortable with”. The delay has not only allowed for those kinks to be worked out, but for the console launch to arrive simultaneously with the PC version. It also means the game dodges the glut of releases vying for Christmas purchases. – Advertisement – Despite the Minecraft connection, don’t expect it to be anything like the open-world sandbox. Instead, Cobalt offers a blend of run-and-gun combat and fast-paced 2D platforming with cartwheeling cyborgs, upgradable weapons, and slow-motion gameplay mechanics that let you punch enemy fire right back at them. It also packs in an eight-hour story campaign, and multiplayer modes including “capture the plug”, deathmatch, survival, and the Counter-Strike inspired TeamStrike, where each player only has one life. Oh, and tameable space hamsters, of course.Will Cobalt be the new Minecraft? No, almost certainly not — but only because Minecraft is a certifiable phenomenon. This is aiming more for the competitive gamer, with the real draw being its potential for long-term post-release versus play.If you can’t stand to wait just over two weeks to get your hands on it, you can buy the alpha version — which Oxeye admits is “remarkably dated” — for PC now. Anyone who’s purchased the alpha will get an upgrade to the full Steam version upon release.[Wired]last_img read more

ShowMax expands internet TV service to subSaharan Africa

first_imgAdvertisement ShowMax has officially launched internet TV services to 36 countries across sub-Saharan Africa. The company originally launched in August 2015 with the largest subscription video on demand catalogue on the continent.The sub-Saharan service costs US$ 7.99 per month for unlimited viewing. The catalogue includes approximately fifteen thousand TV show episodes and movies, totaling almost ten thousand hours of viewing. The service includes a Kiswahili language section and a Nollywood section, as well as an African Film section that pulls together classic movies from across the continent.Barron Ernst, Chief Product Officer for ShowMax commented: – Advertisement – “The speed and cost of connectivity are significant hurdles for any internet-based service in Africa. Getting it right means you’ve got to do much more than just flick a switch.“We’ve been busy testing the service in key locations across the continent and optimising our delivery network. Perhaps more importantly, we’ve adapted our apps to address the needs of consumers in Africa, introducing features like downloads for viewing TV shows and movies when not connected.”The product features developed by ShowMax to address connectivity constraints include:Adaptive bitrate streaming that monitors connection speeds and automatically adjusts video stream resolution to avoid bufferingDownload functionality to save up to 25 TV shows and movies in total to Android and iOS smartphones and tablets for viewing offlineUser-selectable download quality to limit data usageUser-selectable streaming quality to limit data usageAutomatic size reduction of static pictures delivered to mobile devices“The other key to success is making sure you’ve got the right mix of international and local content. We’ve added Kiswahili and Nollywood shows and movies to our existing class-leading catalogue of Hollywood and British favourites,” said Ernst.According to the GSMA, around 160 million connected smartphones were in use in sub-Saharan Africa in 2015, set to rise to more than 500 million by 2020. This explosive growth combined with the increasing availability of WiFi services, the rollout of FTTH in urban centres, and the rollout of other high speed fixed mobile options is driving the take-up of video on demand services.“The growth potential of the African market is huge, and we’re not the only internet TV service looking to meet that demand. The difference is that we’re not simply cutting and pasting an existing model from elsewhere, and instead have built a product and content selection designed specifically for Africa,” concludes Ernst.ShowMax offers a risk-free seven-day trial. For more information or to sign up for the trial, visit www.ShowMax.com.last_img read more

Breaking UCC Dragged to Court Over SIM Card Verification UPDATED

first_imgUganda Communication Commission Executive Director; Eng. Godfrey Mutabazi. (Photo Credit: Eagle Online) Advertisement A group of activists under  the an umbrella organization Rights Trumpet have dragged the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to the High Court civil division challenging the  ongoing ‘ambitious’ SIM Card registration verification exercise.In a statement released last week, UCC Executive Director Eng. Godfrey Mutabaaazi ordered all telecom operators in the country to deactivate all simcards whose holders will not have verified their particulars to match the National ID database.Mutabaazi gave the operators an ultimatum of seven (7) days, four of which were public holidays to have the exercise completed. UCC’s allotted period expires on Thursday April 20th. – Advertisement – Through their lawyers led by Eron Kiiza the activists say it is unfair for the commission to allow only 7 days for the entire country to have validated their SIM Card registration status.Currently, Over 21 million Ugandans have registered mobile phone lines, close to 20million are registered mobile financial service users and the activists argue that the seven days are not enough to have their data verified.“It is unfair and unreasonable to force Ugandans to validate their details in only 7 days. It not only violates the rights to communication but also doesn’t take into account the rights of Ugandans in the diaspora who can’t travel back to have their subscriber details updated in the given 7 days,” said Kiiza.The available simcard verification exercise is currently by USSD and manually from the service centres. No clear online platform has been announced for use by Ugandans in diaspora to verify of their simcard registration status.The lawyers also faulted UCC for not empowering foreign Ugandan embassies and High Commissions to conduct the verification exercise.[related-posts]Several other stakeholders have also criticized and ridiculed UCC’s directive on the same, a policy they referred to as “reactive and uncalculated.”On Friday April 13th, the ICT Association of Uganda (ICTAU) wrote to Mutabaazi challenging the directive to use strictly National IDs during the registration exercise, saying it was in contravention to the law.“A great number of people do not have their National IDs for various reasons and are therefore at risk of having their simcards deactivated for factors not with in their control as consumers of telecommunications services,” ICTAU Chairman Board of Directors, Albert Mucunguzi wrote in the letter.The Uganda Law Society reiterated the same saying the directive is contrary to the Regulation of Interception of Communications Instrument No.42 of 2011.“This law under regulation 7(3) allows valid identification documents recognized and issued by government agencies such as National IDs, Work permits, National Passports, Driving License, Students’ Identity Cards and Voters’ cards to be used for registration,” Francis Gimara, the President Uganda Law Society wrote.“If one form of registration is going to be preferred, then these regulations will have to first be amended,” he added.PC Tech Magazine couldn’t independently verify whether UCC has been served any court summons as the Commission’s publicist Pamela Ankunda could not be reached over the phone.Rights Trumpet’s lawyers however demand that their issue be handled with urgency since its only two days to the expiry of UCC’s deadline.last_img read more

The Refurbished Galaxy Note 7 Rumored to be Sold Half the Original

first_imgSamsung to start selling the refurbished Galaxy Note 7 phablet and is said to be called the Samsung Galaxy Note 7R – where R stands for Refurbished. (Photo Courtesy: YouTube Images) Advertisement South Korean smartphone makers, Samsung in March confirmed it will be selling refurbished units of its Galaxy Note 7 dubbed the ‘Galaxy Note 7R’ and it has been reportedly said that the firm might sell the phablet at a much cheaper price than the original phone.According to reports by South Korean daily Chosun Ilbo, cited by The Investor, while earlier reports suggested that the refurbished models of the Galaxy Note 7 would be priced around $620, Chosun Ilbo reports that Samsung might be selling the Note 7R units for as low as $440.A Samsung official was quoted by the daily as saying that the company has not decided on the launch schedule for the refurbished Galaxy Note 7 but that it will be launched before the arrival of Galaxy Note 8 later this year. However, on the other hand, the Note 7R has been claimed to arrive in June. – Advertisement – The Galaxy Note 7R according to ongoing rumors has been tipped to feature a smaller 3200mAh battery than the 3500mAh battery on original phone and will run Android 7.0 Nougat. Other specs are said to remain the same as the original.Notably, Samsung as per reports, last year recalled an estimated four million Galaxy Note 7 smartphones over concerns about the battery issues of overheating and burst into flames. Authorities globally banned the use of Galaxy Note 7. After an investigation, Samsung earlier this year in January announced that faulty batteries were to blame for the entire issue.[related-posts]last_img read more

Tech Has Made Building a Website Easier than Ever for Businesses

first_imgAzimo – Website” (CC BY 2.0) by Monito – Money Transfer Comparison. Advertisement The internet has changed the way the world does business. By creating an online presence, individuals, startups and large corporations have all found a way to reach new customers. However, according to the statistics, almost half of all businesses still don’t have a website. Even though the value of a website is without question, a CNBC survey found that 45% of US businesses don’t have an online presence. For those that think that stat is unique to the US, there are two million small businesses in the UK without a website. Put simply, businesses owners are still missing out because they don’t have a website. The question is, why?Lack of Access Shouldn’t Stop You from Planning AheadIn Uganda, one of the main reasons for a lack of website building among small businesses is access. Although the figures have improved in recent years, internet usage across the country is still lacking. According to Internet World Stats, 13 million people in Uganda now use the internet. That’s 31% of the total population, which has two consequences. Firstly, that low usage levels among the general population means that usage levels with business owners will be low. Secondly, the market is a lot smaller. Compared to the US, which has 95% penetration, there are fewer people to target with a website. Therefore, in business terms, it may not be cost-effective at this point.However, the world is changing and internet access is only going to increase. Because of this, any business owner should be looking towards the future. Another reason many people shy away from setting up a website is cost. Although prices will vary, you can expect to pay between 600,000 and 1.5 million UGX for a professional service. What many business owners don’t realize is that it’s possible to do a lot of the work for free or very little money.Building a Website Costs Less than You ThinkBudget Key” (CC BY 2.0) by Got Credit. – Advertisement – WordPress offers an all-in-one, ready-to-go platform where you can use templates to create a website for free. Once you’ve built a site, it’s possible to get a free domain when you take a hosting plan. Using web hosting reviews, you can find a service that not only caters to your needs but fits in with your budget. Indeed, by looking at where a company’s servers are located, monthly fees and the site’s overall rating, you can choose the right hosting platform. When you’ve done that, everything you need will be in place. What’s more, the cost will be a lot lower than it would be if you use a professional.Put simply, there is no reason not to have a website if you’re a business owner. Thanks to the latest online technology, everyone can create a professional looking site without spending a fortune. While it’s certainly true that internet access in Uganda lacking, things are improving. For any business looking to stay ahead of the curve, going online is essential.last_img read more

Highlights PC Tech 2018 Feature Articles

first_imgThe Razer Blade 15. (Photo Courtesy: Tech Advisor) Advertisement Hours left to wrap up 2018, our editor recaps/highlights some of the feature articles—we featured thanks to all our contributors. All the feature articles deal in depth with a particular topic—from Gaming, Business, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain Technology, Internet of Things, among others.Latest Tech Inventions For Enhanced Business Productivity Whether your business is small or running its operations at a large scale, effective utilization of new ideas and technologies is vital not only to improve processes of your business but to enhance its overall operational efficiency and most importantly its revenues. This article discussed the latest tech inventions that can boost business productivity ultimately to help you generate more revenues (goo.gl/DtsBXv).5 Uses of AI in Human Resources Artificial intelligence, or AI, has the power to transform human resources. It’s an important tool in terms of data analysis and management. With the right approach to human resource management systems that use AI, companies could save time and money. So, what are the ways AI can be used in human resources? (goo.gl/az7RnG). – Advertisement – The Best Gaming Laptops of 2018 Gaming laptops have evolved over time into sleek and sophisticated powerhouses that can rival any powerful desktop. However, choosing the perfect gaming laptop for you will depend on various factors such as the performance, price and portability. Therefore these a few gaming laptops that you should check out before making your final decision (goo.gl/PCsVh5).The 5 Top SEM Strategies for Building Strong Brand Awareness To make sure you are promoting your business in the most memorable way, you need to look at your marketing campaigns. The strategies you consider and spend time on will determine the success of your enterprise and how popular it becomes (goo.gl/6ZkhMg).How To Promote Cohesion in the Workplace Through Team Building When you want your team to work better together, or you have a new group of people who need to get to know one another before they can really bond and work cohesively, there are a number of different ways you can help them (goo.gl/q6NvkQ).The Benefits Of Using Cloud Computing Many companies use cloud computing every day because of all of the amazing benefits that it brings. These benefits include things like flexibility, automatic software updates and much more (goo.gl/WA6xDA).3 Steps to Refining Your Business Running a business is undoubtedly one of the most challenging things you will ever choose to put yourself through, but with the risks comes the potential for great rewards (goo.gl/ta4hjB).Four Ways Digitization Can Add Value To Your Company In a world that is increasingly connected by and dependent upon technology, digitization is an important way for organizations to remain modern and relevant. Taking advantage of the global digital transformation allows companies in B2B and B2C spheres to enhance their performance across key operational areas and create new value for their customers (goo.gl/i2Dvqx).Different Types of Economical and Effective Marketing for SMEs For SMEs on a budget, marketing has to achieve sufficient results to prove profitable while not costing the earth to run a single campaign. Not every type of marketing either online or offline qualifies or delivers speedy results (goo.gl/LuKFFi).3 Ways Video Marketing Can Improve B2B Customer Relationships Customer relationships are a central component of every enterprise. Even B2B businesses, who have long been considered to be platform and service oriented, cannot continue trading if their relationships with their individual customers aren’t as strong as they can be (goo.gl/pmuHSV).Technical Analysis vs. Fundamental Analysis When it comes to analyzing the markets, there are two primary schools of thought, technical analysis, and fundamental analysis (goo.gl/3H7pEx).Important Factors in Choosing Web Hosting Hosting a website online is an important step in your business, whether you are hosting an ecommerce site or simply an information site for your clients and potential customers (goo.gl/YHxV7V).Why Do Some SEO Companies Not Cater to Some Niches? Many entrepreneurs find it difficult to hire an SEO agency, not because there aren’t good agencies but because some are very selective about who they take on (goo.gl/hqB1Jz).5 Tech Innovations that Have Changed Communication Innovation makes the world go around, and in many ways gives us something to look forward to. Thanks to the many innovations that continue to emerge in technology, the world has become interconnected, fast-paced, and continues to evolve. On that note, you’re going to find five ways that tech innovation has changed the way you communicate (goo.gl/NNK5qa).Tips for Choosing an Influencer for Your Marketing Campaign Influencer marketing seems to be the new wave for businesses, and this could be because of how effective it is proving to be. It could also be because, in some instances, it is a cheaper alternative to traditional forms of marketing (goo.gl/pvsAm8).Bitcoin, And Some of its Uses If you are still not up to speed or other cryptocurrencies then in a nutshell bitcoin is a digital currency developed in 2008 by someone who used the pseudonym ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ and bitcoin can be purchased using your own money or credit cards (goo.gl/xRv6pG).Top 5 Uses of Python Python is a buzzword in every programmer’s dictionary today. So, why the hype around Python? Let us start by understanding what is Python? (goo.gl/vySGQ4).ICT investment and partnership key to fueling Africa’s digital growth Rapid advancements in information communications technologies (ICT) over the past 20 years has substantially altered the ways in which people live, work, play and interact with one another (goo.gl/CkDnV8).How to Grow Your Young Business To expand your small business into a larger one takes thorough planning and adequate funding. To guide you through this process—ideas to inspire you and help get you on track (goo.gl/H4DHHU).The Importance of VPNs for Safe Online Banking Using an effective VPN (Virtual Private Network) service has become a must-have to prevent your online-banking compromised (goo.gl/B9Eqxt).[related-posts]Happy Holidayslast_img read more

STARTERS ORDERS Wednesday

first_imgWhat’s your view?CALL STAR SPORTS ON 08000 521 321 [dropcap]W[/dropcap]elcome 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.Wednesday 24 FebruaryRACING3.20 LingfieldRuler Of The Nile 13/8 > 10/114.40 DoncasterBallycrystal 7/4 > evens7.40 KemptonMezmaar 5/1 > 4/1CHELTENHAM MOVERMY TENT OR YOURS 8/1 > 6/1Champion HurdleSustained ew supportCHAMPIONS LEAGUEUEFA Champions League Last-16 1st Leg19:45 BT Sport Europe / BT Sport Europe HD11/4 Dynamo Kiev 11/10 Man City 9/4 DRAWUEFA Champions League Last-16 1st Leg19:45 BT Sport 2 / BT Sport 2 HD100/30 PSV Eindhoven evens Atletico Madrid 9/4 DRAW(All prices subject to fluctuation)last_img read more

STARTERS ORDERS Thursday

first_imgBET WITH STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321 [dropcap]W[/dropcap]elcome 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.Thursday 21 DecemberHORSE RACING12.25 TowcesterMaster Archer 8/1 > 4/113.45 SouthwellHard Graft 14/1 > 4/114.15 SouthwellMister Showman 9/2 > 5/215.45 ExeterBact To Black 14/1 > 7/1LIVE FOOTBALLLa Liga20:30 Sky Sports Football1/1 Alaves 16/5 Malaga 9/4 DRAWlast_img