New evidence proves that the controversial outsourcing contractor Atos should be stripped of all of its disability benefit assessment contracts, say disabled campaigners.Fresh concerns about the behaviour of Atos and its assessors emerged after Disability News Service (DNS) revealed last week how an Atos nurse repeatedly lied about a disabled man he was assessing for personal independence payment (PIP).The nurse, who is believed to be still carrying out assessments for Atos, stated in his report – in addition to a string of other incorrect statements – that Colin Stupples-Whyley had attended the PIP assessment alone, even though his partner had sat with him throughout the interview.Now, following the publication of that story, other disabled claimants have come forward to describe to DNS how their Atos assessors “lied” about them in benefit assessment reports.Former nurse Sue Hardy, who lectured on nursing for 22 years at the University of Bedfordshire, until she was forced to retire due to ill-health in 2013, said she was appalled when she read the report written by the Atos nurse who assessed her for the out-of-work disability benefit employment and support allowance (ESA).The report was littered with errors, but most worrying was the cognitive tests section, which was filled in by the assessor even though none of the tests had been carried out.Hardy, who was accompanied by a friend to the assessment, said: “This nurse lied on my assessment form. Having just had to give up my 35-year career as a nurse and senior lecturer, I found her assessment erroneous in many areas.”She appealed against the decision to place her in the work-related activity group of ESA, and won her appeal at tribunal, but also lodged a complaint with Atos, and with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).In the NMC complaint, she said the assessor had “completely fabricated, and invented the results of the cognitive assessment”.She told DNS: “I think Atos is a joke. How many people out there are being denied a fair assessment?“Nurses have a duty of care to all patients and clients and are bound by their code of conduct.“To omit an assessment or part thereof is negligence, and thus that duty of care is broken.“Atos employ nurses alongside doctors and physiotherapists, who are bound by similar codes of conduct.“So if the nurses are being caught fabricating assessment results, what about the other disciplines?“It is very worrying, and Atos obviously can’t perform these assessments to the required standards, resulting in people missing out on their benefits.”Although Atos handed over the ESA contract to another company earlier this year, it still has two major contracts to carry out PIP assessments.Colleen Hardy [no relation to Sue Hardy], from Kent, has described how a report written by the Atos physiotherapist who assessed her was littered with either basic errors or deliberate untruths about the impact of several chronic health conditions, including depression, anxiety, a thyroid disorder, and fibromyalgia.She was accompanied to the Atos building for the assessment by both a community psychiatric nurse and a friend, and both of them were able to dismiss the assessor’s claims that she had climbed a flight of stairs without help and by holding onto the bannister.Hardy later told DWP that the assessor was “either unqualified to give an informed opinion or she is being blatantly misleading and/or obstructive with the actual evidence”, and that she had simplified the impact of the fibromyalgia to a “ridiculous extent”.She said: “When I received my copy of the report, I was gobsmacked. It was full of inaccuracies and, let’s call a spade a spade here, lies!”As a result of the assessment in July 2012, she was removed from the support group of ESA and placed in the work-related activity group.After she appealed, a tribunal ruled that the original report was accurate, but still placed her back in the support group, although it did not reimburse her for the benefits she had lost in the meantime.Hardy said: “Atos and all involved never once explained any of the outlined inaccuracies in that report and stood by the physiotherapist completely.“I lost a fair amount of money, I lost confidence and my health suffered so much. This was all after the assessor deciding – despite all the professional opinion to the contrary she was shown – that in three months’ time I would be fit enough to work.”She added: “I can’t believe that Atos are more than happy to allow a liar to continue working for them.”Three other claimants have also come forward to accuse Atos assessors of lying in their reports.One told DNS how her Atos assessor asked her three questions, two of which required one-word answers, and then told her that her medical records answered all of the other questions.After giving the assessor a two-minute rundown of her week, she was “ushered out” of the assessment.She said: “When I was told I had (of course) failed the test, scoring the usual ‘0’ for mental health issues, I was shocked to read the report, which stated the interview had lasted 25 minutes, and a whole raft of questions had been asked!“To say the least, I was gobsmacked at this thick tome of utter fabrication.”Another claimant, with conditions including diabetes, a chronic degenerative disease that has ruptured all but two of the discs in her neck, arthritis, high blood pressure, and panic attacks, was told she had scored zero points in her assessment.She said: “The tissue of lies was unbelievable. It’s a bloody farce, the whole thing.”Among the inaccuracies in the report, the assessor claimed the claimant had opened the door to the assessment centre, when her daughter had done so, and that she had no problem removing her coat and undoing the buttons, even though she had not been wearing a coat.She said: “There was nothing to indicate any of the responses I’d given. They also stated I had no problems getting on the couch, [even though] they had to get me a step and she had to help me down.”A third claimant – the fifth in all to describe their experiences – described how an Atos doctor wrote in his report that he had performed “squats” in front of him, and “repeatedly climbed on and off the assessment couch without problems”.He said: “Not only is it impossible for me to squat, but the assessor actually had to provide me with steps to get onto the couch and help (alongside another person)… lift me on and off.”Although a tribunal subsequently found the report to be accurate, despite a witness and statements from specialists and doctors saying it could not have happened, the assessment was subsequently “completely dismissed” at a supersession – which allows DWP to change a benefit decision if a claimant’s circumstances change or if the decision was made without knowledge of the full facts – requested by his MP.He said: “The whole system is obscene and bordering on corrupt.”Rick Burgess, co-founder of the campaign group New Approach, said he was now hearing of many PIP claimants who were experiencing the same kind of “fraudulent healthcare professional reports” that ESA claimants had been subjected to, allowing DWP decision-makers to disallow their claims.He said: “I have yet to meet someone who thought their report accurately recorded the assessment and their impairment/illness. Seriously, no-one!“Sadly, the abuse and horror that was meted out to ESA claimants is now going to come to DLA/PIP claimants on a scale hitherto unseen.“I think many who have not experienced a work capability assessment and tribunal have been sceptical of the reports of abuse and fraud from Atos and the DWP, but unfortunately that will be happening to those making PIP claims now.“The government has a target to cut half a million [PIP] claims… the only way to do that is to commit medical/welfare fraud on disabled people on a massive scale; just as they do with ESA.”Lawyer and benefits expert Nick Dilworth, also a co-founder of New Approach, said he had helped hundreds of disabled people with appeals and requests for reconsiderations of benefit decisions, mainly those who had undergone testing for ESA eligibility by Atos.He said it was “commonplace for question-marks to be raised by clients over inconsistencies in what had been said with the healthcare professional conducting face-to-face assessments”. He said: “Clients would regularly allege that Atos lied over how long they had remained sitting or standing or [had been] seen walking from waiting areas to the examination room. “The amount of time a claimant was reported as ‘sitting continuously’ simply wouldn’t tally with the timing on the ESA85 [assessment form] detailing how long the assessment lasted. “You could see the same report remarking on how, within the same time, the ‘claimant rose unaided several times’; it didn’t add up.”He said it was too early to say whether PIP assessments were any better than those for ESA.Dilworth said he had been impressed when he attended an Atos PIP assessment, although “others have told me the whole report is ‘a complete joke’”. Linda Burnip, a co-founder of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), said: “Sadly none of these complaints about the appallingly low standard of Atos assessors comes as a surprise.“Atos has consistently failed to meet the terms of their contracts for PIP assessments, with inaccessible centres still being used in many parts of the country.“They are still unable to attract high-calibre staff and they should be stripped of the PIP contracts with immediate effect.”John McArdle, co-founder of the Black Triangle campaign, said he agreed with Hardy’s concerns about assessors who were doctors, physiotherapists and occupational therapists, as well as nurses.He said: “Private companies should be driven out of anything to do with the assessment of disabled people, because their first duty is to shareholders, to maximise profits.”He said the concerns raised with DNS were just “the tip of a massive iceberg”.He said: “Atos are still employing people who are demonstrably liars. It shows the General Medical Council [for doctors] and the NMC are not doing their job.”DPAC researcher Anita Bellows added: “We have received similar complaints about PIP assessments.“I would advise claimants to request the assessment to be audio-recorded and to bring somebody with them.“If they are unhappy about the outcome, they should request the assessor’s report. In the meantime, this needs to be formally investigated.”An Atos spokeswoman said: “All assessment services for ESA transferred to a new provider earlier this year.“As part of that process, we transferred all the claimant data we held to the DWP.“Therefore we now have no way to look back at these cases and investigate but can assure you that we had a stringent complaints policy in place when we ran the contract and all complaints made were fully investigated.”When asked if that meant that Atos had no record of complaints made against its staff while it was carrying out the WCA contract, she declined to comment.An NMC spokeswoman said the organisation did not have any data on complaints about Atos assessors, and could not confirm any details about a specific complaint unless it reached a “fitness to practice” hearing.
The nine tenants — all of whom have been evicted or left after settling with the owner — are suing Maldonado to recoup the rent money they say they paid the manager, but was never delivered to the owner. The failure to pay those rents instigated eviction proceedings last summer. The tenants are also seeking damages for emotional duress. Maldonado testified that it was not him but Aquilina who sprung the eviction notices on tenants and that he did so knowing Maldonado was out of town. “Is it your contention that Mr. Aquilina posted these knowingly while you were gone?” asked Judge Richard B. Ulmer Jr. “Definitely, maliciously,” Maldonado said. “Yes, yes.”The relationship between Maldonado and Aquilina has been unorthodox and remains confusing. Maldonado said Aquilina would sometimes take a loss when the property manager couldn’t pay the full month’s rent, so when three-day notices appeared on the building, Maldonado “thought it was a joke.”“I called Mr. Aquilina to ask him what was going on,” said Maldonado who was in Chicago when the notice was posted. “He answered once and said, ‘I don’t want to talk to you, talk to my manager.’”Maldonado claimed he attempted to pay the rent as soon as he returned from his trip, borrowing $10,000 that was rejected by Aquilina’s property management firm, Laurel Realty, because it came too late.“[Laurel Realty] accepted the checks,” Maldonado said, “and the checks were returned to me about a week later saying they would pursue eviction proceedings.”Despite this initial conflict, Maldonado was the only one of the tenants who was able to settle with Aquilina to stay in his unit. The other three units served with notices have all been vacated and are undergoing reconstruction. Since the eviction notices were served more than a year ago, tenants have filed several cases. Three tenants settled their eviction cases with the owner and moved out in 2014. Six tenants went to court in December over their eviction, but lost. Hooshmand said the tenants lost their wrongful eviction case because the judge fixated on the issue of whether the notice had been posted and didn’t take into account other circumstances, like whether tenants were even aware Aquilina existed.In a case against Aquilina settled earlier this month for an undisclosed amount. All of the tenants have moved out of the units, though few have remained in San Francisco and some have moved as far as Ohio, Mexico, or Colombia. During the two-day hearing against Maldonado, tenant witnesses painted a picture very different from the community Maldonado described. “I am emotionally ill,” said Barbara Heredia, whose pre-recorded deposition was shown because she now lives in Mexico. “It’s the first time in my life that I wake up in the middle of the night with nightmares, dreaming of Maldonado.” “My self-esteem doesn’t exist anymore,” she added. “Everything that happens to me feels like I’m watching a movie.” Arthur Lucero, a tenant from 2011 to 2015, said he was actually quite friendly with Maldonado and even dined with him twice a month. “[Our relationship was] very cordial,” Lucero said. “I’d say we were friends.”All of that changed during the eviction proceedings. Lucero said Maldonado lied to him about the threat of eviction, which not only ruined their friendship but also caused him to lose a home. “It was my home, and all of the sudden it wasn’t anymore,” Lucero said. “I lost a place to live in San Francisco, which is huge.”“I try not to think about what happened too much anymore,” he added. “Have I moved on? No, but I’d like to.” On Tuesday, tenants alleged that Maldonado neglected basic maintenance, entered rooms without warning, and threatened physical violence on multiple occasions. Maldonado denied those allegations today.“No, I went into each unit only when invited,” he said, adding he had “heard a lot of testimony” yesterday that he denied.Maldonado tried to distinguish between the tenants he helped with the rent money and the tenants who fought back. “They were very belligerent and didn’t want to talk to me,” he said referring to the plaintiffs and citing the protest called against him last summer and subsequent press coverage. “My name was put on the front of the building,” he said. “[Tenants] published my number to a newspaper and thousands of people called me, called me names.”Hooshmand was outraged by Maldonado’s testimony. “The gall – he turned around and started to blame them,” he said outside of court.Both sides have a few weeks file briefs while the judge’s reviews court transcripts, after which he will issue a final ruling. If Judge Ulmer chooses to award lost rent and damages to the plaintiffs, Hooshmand said the amount would be under his discretion but that he’s hoping for up to $85,000 for each tenant. If Maldonado is bankrupt, as he contends, Hooshmand said it would be his firm’s job to ferret out any hidden assets or other sources of wealth.Expert witnesses frequently hired by the Hooshmand Law Group were also called to the stand. Kevin Kearney, a construction expert, said he conducted an inspection of the three units in October 2014 and found raw sewage leakage under the sink, broken light fixtures, blown-out and burnt electrical outlets, dry rot in the rear staircase, and other problems that indicated “incredibly poor maintenance,” he said. “All of these constitute hazards [for the tenants],” he added. “I believe each of these units needs to be completely brought up to code.” The other witness, Richard G. Devine, testified on the difficulty of finding a new place in Francisco’s rental market, saying the city’s 1.5 percent rental vacancy is equivalent to “structural no vacancy.”Lydia Chavez contributed reporting.Related: SF Tenants Testify Property Manager Stole Rent, Made Threats, August 12, 2015The Master Tenant Who Duped his Tenants, October 7, 2014VIDEO: Maldonado Opens a Wine Bar, February 10, 2009 Tags: housing • tenants Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% 0% In the second and final day of his trial in Superior Court, the Mission property manager accused of stealing rent, abusing tenants, and failing to maintain his building took the stand and offered a defense that pointed a finger at the landlord.“All the money I got from the tenants at some point went to Mr. Aquilina, always,” the property manager German Maldonado testified, referring to Thomas Aquilina who owns the building at 3150-3154 26th St. “I was caught in the middle of all this. I’m not the person evicting them. I feel bad for them.”Mark Hooshmand, the attorney for the tenants, worked hard to disprove this assertion, pointing out that Maldonado transferred rent money the plaintiffs had paid him to other tenants after the eviction started.“The old tenants didn’t have a place to go,” Maldonado said, referring to other tenants of the units who were not the plaintiffs in this case. “I gave them $500-1,000 to look for another place.”
The FBI raided a home in Visitacion Valley Friday evening where Stanislav Petrov, the man who was beaten by Alameda County sheriff’s deputies in a Mission District alley, was staying according to ABC 7. FBI raid outside home Stanislav Petrov known to frequent. Feds ordered him to come out w/hands up pic.twitter.com/vKNsLr8pJ8— Melanie Woodrow (@MelanieWoodrow) April 2, 2016 0% It was not immediately clear what prompted the raid, but the Chronicle reported that at around 2 a.m. on Friday a man was shot multiple times outside of the home. Petrov told Chronicle reporters he knew nothing of the shooting.Around 6 p.m. on Friday, ABC 7 reporters on-site at the home saw federal agents raiding the home where Petrov had reportedly been staying. The agents entered and cuffed both Petrov and an unidentified female, taking them into the house. Right now – FBI raid @abc7newsBayArea first on scene. Stanislav Petrov here, I see another woman in cuffs pic.twitter.com/XHVoc5Lrnu— Melanie Woodrow (@MelanieWoodrow) April 2, 2016Petrov was the auto theft suspect who was beaten by two Alameda County sheriff’s deputies in November after leading police on a high-speed chase across the Bay Bridge. The beating was captured by a nearby surveillance camera and released by the Public Defender’s Office, which called for deputies to be charged after a homeless couple alleged that they had been bribed with goods stolen from Petrov by the deputies.Three deputies have been suspended by the sheriff’s department, which launched an investigation into the allegations. A civil lawsuit brought by Petrov is pending, and the Jeff Adachi, the Public Defender, called on the District Attorney to bring a criminal suit against the deputies as well. Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%
Criminal charges against law enforcement for the use of force are rare – no charges were filed against officers involved in the controversial deadly shooting of Alex Nieto, and the District Attorney is still expected to make a decision regarding criminal charges in the shootings of Mario Woods, Amilcar Perez Lopez and Luis Gongora.“They are rare, and they’re rare for a good reason: Most of the time police officers do the right thing, and they work within the law,” Gascón, who is a former police officer, said.“We are relieved that charges have finally been filed; it’s been a long wait, almost been seven months,” said Public Defender Jeff Adachi. “Make no mistake, often, in this hall, there are many people who are charged within a day or two of assault, particularly if you have evidence on video.”Gascón said bringing charges against deputies from another county complicated the process.“It’s made it more difficult, because we have to work through another county and they have different procedures,” he said.Adachi said the video, which his office released to the public, was likely the primary factor in bringing the charges.“We applaud the DA’s decision to charge. It is a very rare thing,” Adachi said. “The difference in this case is that we have a video. Without the video I doubt very much that we would be standing here.”In late March, word spread of a second video clip of the incident that resulted from the accidental activation of a deputy’s body-worn camera, though that footage has not been released. Gascón would not say what it showed.“There is a lot already that is in the public domain that went into the public domain without our participation. So I cannot unring that bell. But we have a trial that we have to now prepare for, and everybody gets to have due process and everybody gets to have their day in court,” he told reporters.Petrov has been arrested by federal officials on firearm possession and drug-trafficking charges unrelated to his November 2015 encounter with the deputies. Meanwhile, his lawyer, Michael Haddad, has filed a complaint against Alameda County alleging a cover-up of Petrov’s beating. 0% San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón on Tuesday announced that his office is bringing felony assault charges against two Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies involved in the November 2015 beating of Stanislav Petrov.Luis Santamaria and Paul Wieber, who have worked in the sheriff’s department 14 years and three years respectively, are charged with assault under color of authority, battery with serious bodily injury, and assault with a deadly weapon. Bail has been set at $140,000 each.Corruption allegations, stemming from statements made by a homeless couple living near the incident that a deputy bribed them with jewelry belonging to Petrov, are still under investigation.Petrov was chased down Stevenson Street by sheriff’s deputies following a car chase that began in Alameda, where the deputies approached Petrov because he was sitting in a reportedly stolen car. Petrov allegedly rammed several police vehicles before taking off in the car, eventually crashing near Stevenson Street. When he got out of the car, he ran down the alley, pursued by Santamaria and Wieber, who tackled him and then beat him repeatedly with batons. His injuries required surgery, and Petrov feared in November that he might lose the use of his arm. Tags: assault • crimes • Sheriff Office Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%
Email Address,0% Guillermo Gomez has Asperger’s Syndrome — and a director’s credit. He’s hoping for more of them. There was, it turns out, a surfeit of Charlie Chaplin in young Guillermo Gomez’s life. Not only did the budding filmmaker watch the silent classics as a kid, he supplemented them with Sesame Street, in which actress Sonia Manzano, who portrayed Maria, did slapsticky bits as Chaplin’s Little Tramp. Well, it shows. Gomez used the Mission and the Castro as his backdrop for Poster Boy, a 22-minute silent romp in which the Chaplin- or Harold Lloyd-esque main character, “Stuart, friend to all,” is chased or ambles at slightly speeded-up motion throughout San Francisco’s neighborhoods. Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletter Gomez, 35, debuted his film at this month’s Scary Cow Film Festival, the in-house expo of Scary Cow Productions, a San Francisco indie film co-op. His black-and-white silent film played at the Castro Theatre — which, of course, hosted them the first time around when it opened in 1922. Like those films, Gomez’s features high-energy piano music (by local composer and player Tom Shaw), high-contrast footage, broad acting and comedic styles with plenty of semaphore-like gesticulations, and signboards in ornate text. Unlike its forebears, however, Gomez’s film features a character attempting to distract a cop by stating, “Look — over there! White nationalists!” or fomenting a mix-up by dressing as a bear and meeting “fellow bears” in the Castro.Clip of Gomez’s Poster Boy.Clip of Gomez’s Poster Boy.Gomez has what he refers to as an “advantage” when directing a film: Asperger’s Syndrome — an autism-spectrum condition that can lead to shyness, social awkwardness, and obsessive tendencies. Gomez’s claim that this puts him a leg up is novel, but explainable: “I am very clear about what I want in terms of performance,” he says. “I already envision the film as it’s going to play in my head.” More than most people, Gomez is at home in the editing bay, assiduously whittling together his film. And, in this film, there’s lots of chasing. Stuart, portrayed by local improv actor Michael Davenport, is shocked to find his doppelganger on a poster — hence the title Poster Boy. Stuart’s doppelganger, by the way, is a leather-clad twink being led on a leash by none other than Sister Roma herself. People chase him. He runs. A gorilla, at one point, gets in on the action.Hilarity, as they say, ensues.When in the vicinity of 23rd Street in the Mission, be wary of gorillasAlso ensuing, Gomez hopes, will be some jobs. He’s been an independent contractor for a wedding and event video company, and done editing duties for a documentarian. He’s worked a bit of late with the California Department of Rehabilitation “for more help finding the right kind of job for me.” And, via his recent filmmaking, he may have found it. He recently landed a paid position doing post-production work for a small local movie project. He’ll be charged with tasks such as copying files from the camera cartridge onto the hard drive and organizing them all — painstaking work that will save the film’s director editor a ton of time and hassle. It’s also the kind of detail-oriented job for which Gomez feels his Asperger’s really does give him a leg up. So, perhaps Gomez may yet have a happy ending in his own personal movie. “I think,” he says, “that things are looking up.”Director Guillermo Gomez, right, with Sion Shankel, who produced his film Poster Boy. Photo by Joe Eskenazi.
We have a whole host of entertainment both on and off the field to bring you the ultimate matchday experience, which is ideal for all the family.Game Schedule:Red Vee Cafe Bar – Opens at 4pm.Turnstiles – Opens at 5:15pm.Reserves – The Reserves take on their Hull KR counterparts at 5:30pm.Club Face Painters – These will be operating in the Hattons Solicitors Family Stand and the Totally Wicked North Stand from 6.30pm … come along and get your face painted in Saints colours for free!Inflatables – Rugby and Super Hero themed inflatables will be in the North and South West Stands.Air Factory St Helens – Two trampolines will be set up in the North Stand.Game St Helens – Head to the Red V Cafe Bar to have a go at the new Rugby League Live 4 game!Kiosk Food – We have a great range of food for you to sample at selected kiosks and we’ve teamed up with Big Al’s to bring a great selection of Burgers to the Saints.Member Offer – You can get a pie and hot drink for £3.50!Contactless Payment – will be available in the Karalius, Popular Side and Marching Inn bars to speed up your service.Boots – Your favourite furry mascot Boots, who is sponsored by Small Wonders, will be in attendance in all the concourse areas from 6.30pm onwards so look out for him and say hello!The A Star Saints Angels – Will be performing a brand new routine before the game.Half Time – You can win hospitality for two in our 1873 Lounge by taking part in our crossbar challenge which is in association with Hightown Group, Building Better Solutions. If you want to take part email the club at email@example.comCash Dash – Check out the great prizes!Bucket Collection – There will be a bucket collection for the Academy’s Tour of Australia.Crabbie’s – Our partners and Match Sponsor will be here with their vintage bus and passing cage game. If you buy a bottle of Crabbie’s too, you will get a free pair of sunglasses whilst stocks last.Performance – Brothers of Mine will be performing pre-game.Sponsors:The game is sponsored by Crabbie’s, with Fleet Dymanic sponsoring the Match Ball. Cara Brickwork are sponsoring the Man of the Match whilst Batchelors Peas are our Corporate Sponsor for the night.Team News:Both sides have named their 19-man squad for the match. You can find out more here.Tickets:Tickets for the game are available from the Ticket Office at the Totally Wicked Stadium or by calling 01744 455 052. There will be cash turnstiles on the Hattons Solicitors West, Totally Wicked North and East Stands. If you require a South Stand ticket then you need to head to the Ticket Office.Tickets are also onsale from www.saintssuperstore.com up until 6pm.Saints Superstore:The Saints Superstore will be open from 9am up until kick-off. It will also be open for 45 minutes after the game.Programme:The 13th edition of #asone will once again be on sale. Featuring an interview with Alex Walmsley, it is packed with all you need to know about your Super Saints!The cover has our players on one side of the V and randomly selected 2017 Members on the right hand side! Is your name there? There’s also the latest news and views from around the club, our Academy and community teams. It is priced at £3.Today’s programme is available on the concourse as well as in the Saints Superstore and is sponsored by Warrington AudiSecurity:At the Saints we take the safety of our fans and supporters very seriously.We have a highly trained ground safety and stewarding team to ensure that every visit to the Totally Wicked Stadium continues to be an enjoyable, safe and comfortable experience.In light of recent events, there will be additional security checks at the game. We advise fans to arrive early and not to bring anything into the ground which is unnecessary.All bags will be searched on entry and there will be additional security checks to ensure the match proceeds as safely as possible. We also ask that fans remain vigilant at all times and if they spot something that is suspicious alert a steward.We thank everyone for their assistance in ensuring gameday at the Totally Wicked Stadium is the best possible experience for all.
“They’re going to be a hard side to play against and he’s got them playing a really hard style of rugby league,” he said. “They played a really great game against Wigan in the Challenge Cup and we’re expecting that level. They won last week, but they won’t be overly thrilled with how they played.“I’ve known Steve a long time and it will be great to go up against him. We played under 7s together and he’s doing a great job over there.”Saints head into the game with a ten-point gap at the top of the table and on the back of a 14-6 win over Wigan at the DW Stadium.“We knew Wigan were never going to lie down and it was a real battle for 80 minutes,” Holbrook added. “I was happy with the way we went; we made some breaks and couldn’t convert them but that wasn’t our fault – we looked like we were going to score three or four times after making long breaks but credit to them, they kept turning up and stopped it.“Young Jack Ashworth and Matty Lees were outstanding for us. I was happy for them and happy even though we had some of our key men out we could still get a win there.“Matty is getting better every week. He’s a great young player and it’s been great to give him so many games in our side this year.”Tickets for Thursday’s home clash with Warrington are now on sale from the Ticket Office at the Totally Wicked Stadium, by calling 01744 455 052 or online here.
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A New Hanover County teacher has been named the best in southeastern North Carolina.Angela Hewett, who is a Visual Arts teacher at Ashley High School and currently New Hanover County Schools Teacher of the Year, has been selected as one of the two finalists for the Southeast Regional Teacher of the Year, according to a news release.- Advertisement – Cameron Gupton, an American History teacher at Greene Early College High School in Greene County, was also named a finalist after interviews this past week. The Region 2 winner will be announced in December after classroom observations by a panel.There are 12 school districts in the Southeast Region, which includes Brunswick, Carteret, Craven, Duplin, Greene, Jones, Lenoir, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, and Wayne counties. Winners from each of North Carolina’s eight regions (plus one Charter school region) will compete for the state Teacher of the Year honor, which will be announced in May.
Water main break (Photo: Jenna Kurzyna/WWAY) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — CFPUA has issued a Boil Water Advisory as crews make an emergency repair to a 12” main at 202 N 15th Street in Wilmington.The water main break was due to freezing temperatures. CFPUA says approximately 150 customers are out of water. Water customers at the addresses listed below will experience periods of low pressure and/or outages in the distribution system today.- Advertisement – This advisory is for:201 – 411 North 15th Street201 – 219 North 16th Street1309 – 1519 Chestnut Street1310 -1410 Grace Street1301 – 1407 Princess Street209 North 14th Street212 North 13th Street201 – 220 N. 15th StreetFor customers in those areas, CFPUA advises residents to boil their drinking water once service returns.Customers in other parts of CFPUA service areas are not affected and do not need to boil their water.Related Article: Happy 40th birthday, WalkmanPeriods of low or no pressure in the distribution system increase the potential for back siphonage and introduction of bacteria into the water system. CFPUA customers in the above described area are asked to boil their water for one minute, allow it to cool prior to consumption, and store the cooled water in a clean container with a cover. Customers can also utilize another water source such as bottled water.Affected customers should use boiled water that has cooled or bottled water for:Drinking.Brushing teeth.Washing fruits and vegetables.Preparing food and baby formula.Making ice.Giving to pets.Customers do NOT need to boil water prior to using it for showering or bathing.The CFPUA is working diligently to complete this repair. The resulting Precautionary Boil Water Advisory shall be in effect until water quality testing has occurred and service is returned to normal.When testing is completed, typically within 24 hours, and service is returned to normal, the advisory will be lifted.This boil water advisory is a precaution. To limit risk, customers should follow the instructions contained in this release. If customers have any questions concerning the precautionary boil water advisory, call CFPUA Utility Services at (910) 332-6738.
From the incident yesterday, The Pender County Sheriff’s Office said a 15-year-old student from Heide Trask High School is charged with making a false report concerning mass violence on educational property. This students was the first one to make the Snapchat threat that circulated Tuesday morning, causing hundreds of students to leave school early.Around 7 a.m. yesterday morning, a parent reached out to deputies about the social media post. The school alerted parents two hours later. The sheriff’s office determined the threat was not credible.“We would like to ask that parents continue to speak with their children regarding these types of incidents and encourage students to bring information forward when they hear or find out information. Please ask your students to notify a parent, school official or local law enforcement official,” a spokesman with the sheriff’s office said.Related Article: Pender man sentenced for sexually assaulting multiple childrenNow, the superintendent is speaking out about what they are doing to keep students safe while at school.Superintendent Dr. Steven Hill said a safety committee was formed last year with representatives from the school system, local law enforcement and emergency management, Pender County Fire Marshall, and Pender EMS and Fire.The safety committee has completed six safety walk-throughs of school campuses and will complete every school by the end of the school year.In the coming weeks, Dr. Hill says the safety committee will be launching a campaign detailing the importance of being a proactive citizen and legal responsibilities when sharing information on social media. The campaign “Report, don’t Repost” in collaboration with local law enforcement. This campaign will focus on the community being an equal partner in ensuring the safety of our schools.Collaborating with our local government, Dr. Hill says they will be requesting funding this year to improve security at our schools, including an SRO based at each school, updated security cameras, and secure door entry systems, among other needed improvements.Pender County Schools works with local law enforcement and emergency management agencies to provide active shooter training opportunities for school staffs and first responders.The district said as they were learning of the school shooting in Florida, the Pender County Sheriff’s Office was conducting active shooter training at North Topsail Elementary School.The school system says they have completed active shooter training with staff at seven schools and will complete this training at all schools by the end of the school year.Last week, Brunswick County schools dealt with a string of rumors related to threats made last September.Friday a student at South Brunswick Middle School was charged with making a false threat.Investigators charged another SBMS student today for another false threat. PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — For the second time in two days, a social media post threatened violence at Pender County schools. This time a teen faces charges.The Pender County Sheriff’s Office said a 14-year-old Topsail High School student was charged with making a false report concerning mass violence on educational property. The sheriff’s office says the teen was referred to juvenile services.- Advertisement –
PCSO says the victim had parked his 2002 Chrysler 300 near the Cash Points in the parking lot. That’s when Larry Dale Martin and Megan Dassaro reportedly got in the car and drove off.The victim was able to get in the car with a family member who also was at the store and follow the suspects, to give their location to responding deputies.The deputies and North Carolina Highway Patrol quickly located and chased the stolen car down NC Hwy 210 W, onto Little Kelly Road to the 1400 block, where suspects wrecked in the ditch.Related Article: Autopsy: Asphyxia was likely cause of Hania Aguilar’s deathMartin and Dassaro were taken into custody.Martin, of Kershaw, South Carolina, is charged with break or enter a motor vehicle, larceny of motor vehicle, possess stole motor vehicle, flee/elude arrest, and injury to real property. He is in jail under a $80,000 bond.Dassaro, of Lancaster, South Carolina, is charged with break or enter a motor vehicle, larceny of motor vehicle, and possess stole motor vehicle. She is in jail under a $15,000 bond. Larry Dale Martin and Megan Dassaro (Photo: PCSO) PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Two people are behind bars after allegedly stealing a car from a store in Rocky Point and leading deputies on a chase before crashing into a ditch.Pender County Sheriff’s Office says deputies responded to a report of a car theft around 10:35 a.m. Friday in the parking lot of the Fresh Way Food Mart in Rocky Point.- Advertisement –
Advertisement Google has beaten Apple and has closed the deal on Wavii, a natural language processing startup, for a price that is more than $30 million, we’re hearing from a legitimate source. Both Apple and Google were competing for the Seattle-based startup, and Google eventually won.Apple wanted the company, which developed its own aggregation technology and natural summarization algorithms, for its Siri division. The 25-person-strong team, including founder Adrian Aoun, will be moving down from Seattle to join Google’s Knowledge Graph division.The buy comes shortly after Yahoo’s $30 million acquisition of aggregator Summly, which, like Wavii, attempted to summarize stories. – Advertisement – Considering the Siri interest, one would think that Wavii would be a better fit for Google Now, as a smarter Siri alternative that actually was aware of important stories and news. But Wavii’s semantic search knowledge is also a valid addition to Google Knowledge, as it could further contextualize the information Google currently shows on the sidebar of most searches. But their NLP and disambiguation tech could also widely be applicable across many Google platforms, including Google News and Google Glass.Credit: Tech Crunch
Orange Uganda CEO, Philippe Luxcey chats with Guest of Honor, Patrick Mwesigwa at the Orange Expo 2013 in Kampala. File Photo Advertisement Orange Uganda CEO, Philippe Luxcey chats with Guest of Honor, Patrick Mwesigwa at the Orange Expo 2013 in Kampala. File PhotoOrange Uganda has today launched the 4th technology expo in Uganda at the UMA exhibition hall in Kampala. The EXPO will run from Thursday 17th to 20th October between 9am and 7am daily.The EXPO this year aims at showcasing Orange Uganda as the best all round telecom operator in Uganda, providing the best quality services to complement our customers’ mobile lifestyle. The focus will be on motivating customers to learn more and buy Orange products and services at amazing prices.This year, customers will:enjoy fun filled hands on experience with the different devices, content and innovative products and servicesenjoy online gaming, free Wi-Fi, watch the latest movies in 3D, foosball, kids’ games, etcbuy exciting and new devices at special discounts of up to 40%win instant prizes during the ‘spot the Orange Mascot’ times, gaming competitions, spin the wheel and in the sample dem area. – Advertisement – Some of the events highlights will include:Spot the Orange Mascot. The audience will get surprise visits by the Orange Mascot who will be dressed in a unique attire at any of the experiential areas at any random times in the day. He / She will ask questions related to activities at the Orange Expo and the targeted visitors with the correct answers will win instant incredible prizes.Free calling tunes and mobile portal content will be given to visitors in the sample dem area. We can invite popular FM station DJs,Free viewing at the 3D cinema at specific times of the day.Competitions in the gaming area. (Foosball and Coke connect by Coca-Cola.)Free Wi-Fi access in the internet area.Spin the wheel to win prizes for those who buy devices worth 100,000/- and above.Launch of Matatu mobile application, Huawei Ascend P6 or Nokia Lumia 925, etc.Entertainment by popular local artists and comedians during the evening hours every day starting from 7pmPartners:Orange has got a selection of strategic partners who will showcase their new innovative products and services. The partners will also provide experiential device demo tables and customer care support if any to the audience. These include; Nokia, Samsung, Alcatel, ZTE, Huawei. Acer, Briketti. Payway /African Vending systems. Intel, Barefoot power, HTC, Infinity computers & Communications company.Entrance to the expo will be free.The public is encouraged to come and enjoy various activities that will be taking place.
Advertisement UNICEF Uganda is first of 10 countries to host ACTIVATE Talks to contribute to UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children 2014 Report: ‘Innovating for Children, Innovating for Equity’Uganda has been selected as the host country for the first of a series of 10 ACTIVATE Talks around the world to mark 25 years since the signing of the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC).Under the theme ‘Innovating for children, Innovating for equity’, vibrant and inspiring ACTIVATE Talks and activities will stress the gaps that remain in realizing all children’s rights in the world and the role innovation can play to address them, highlighting practical action to reach the most excluded children. – Advertisement – With the CRC signed on November 20, 1989, the Talks and activities throughout the year will underscore a wide range of positive outcomes for the world’s children from the many commitments made by the international community in the previous 25 years.“When the CRC was signed the world made a promise to its children: That we would do everything in our power to protect and promote their rights – their rights to survive and thrive, to learn and grow, to make their voices heard and to reach their full potential. From declining infant mortality to rising school enrolment, there is much to celebrate as we approach this 25th anniversary,” said Ms. Aida Girma, UNICEF Uganda Country Representative.The Talks will also explore innovative solutions that will ensure even more progress is made for the world’s children over the next 25 years.“Still, we will take this historic milestone as an urgent reminder that we can and should do a lot more. The world needs new ways of thinking and working to create a greater impact for children. We need innovative solutions to save more children’s lives and to help more children reach their full potential. And we need innovative solutions to reach the most excluded and vulnerable children, both across and within countries,” she added.The ACTIVATE Talks will invite bright and creative innovators in international development and humanitarian action to speak on specific challenges children face as well as some solutions that will help them overcome these challenges in the local context.At the Uganda ACTIVATE Talk, five innovations will be featured: Matibabu, a mobile phone application used to test for malaria in pregnant mothers and unborn children; MobileVRS, a mobile phone birth registration service that runs by SMS; The Medical Concierge, a telemedicine service providing free professional consultations on child health; EMO Solution, which creates odourless latrines in schools to help ensure an uninterrupted quality education for children; and U-Report, a mobile-phone based citizen participation service that enables young people to express their views on national and community development issues so that they are better able to contribute to public affairs management.The Uganda ACTIVATE Talk will be preceded by an exhibition showcasing several more innovations within Uganda that support improved living conditions for children.The best knowledge and inputs from the ACTIVATE Talks and activities throughout the year will culminate in a new, digital State of the World’s Children report, which will be launched at the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child on November 20th in New York, USA.When?Friday, February 28, 20141:00pm – 3:30pm: Innovation Exhibition4pm – 6:15pm: ACTIVATE TalkWhere?Victoria Hall, Serena International Conference Centre. Media cameras and other equipment must be set up at 3.30pm, latest.For more information, please contact:Mr. Simon Kaheru, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The MasterCard Foundation Advertisement Some 200 African students will benefit from the chance to study at a leading university, thanks to a new package of scholarships.The University of Edinburgh’s partnership with The MasterCard Foundation will allocate $27 million over seven years. It will ensure access to education for bright young leaders who have a personal commitment to changing the world around them and improving the lives of others.Full scholarships will be offered to 80 undergraduate and 120 postgraduate African students. The initiative will enable Edinburgh to offer opportunities to the brightest and best African Scholars. – Advertisement – Munini Musembi, from Nairobi, Kenya, is one of the first undergraduate recipients. Munini will take her first steps in further education and shortly begin studying mechanical engineering at Edinburgh.Munini said: “I was so elated when I received The MasterCard Foundation scholarship to study in Edinburgh. This will be an enlightening experience for us as the first cohort of MasterCard Foundation Scholars. I hope that our experiences will also benefit future Scholars at the University. It was a long process to get here, but I am very grateful for the opportunity.”The University will work with partners to recruit talented Scholars with great potential but who face significant financial barriers to entry in higher education.Students will receive comprehensive support to remove barriers to study in Edinburgh.They will benefit from dynamic extra-curricular course elements including summer schools and internships. These will help them to develop their abilities and make a difference to their countries and communities when they return home.Africa is experiencing huge youth population growth as economic and employment growth stagnates. The University hopes to educate a new generation of African leaders who will create opportunities for others.To date, the Scholars Program has committed over US $700 million to support the education and leadership development of over 30,000 young people. Edinburgh is the first university in Europe to collaborate with The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program.The announcement comes as part of the University of Edinburgh’s Africa Week – a series of events from 3-7 October – highlighting the University’s partnerships and research in Africa.The University of Edinburgh is committed to expanding access for students from around the world.Edinburgh welcomed 583 students from 33 African countries last year. The University’s largest cohorts in 2015/16 included 124 students from Nigeria, 117 students from South Africa and 76 students from Kenya.The University is engaged in multi-disciplinary research relating to Africa through Edinburgh’s four Global Academies – Development, Health, Justice, Environment and Society.Edinburgh’s Centre of African Studies is a world leader of research on Africa and the largest research hub of its kind in Europe.Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation, said: “We welcome the University of Edinburgh, our first European partner in the Scholars Program. We are excited to work with a visionary partner who shares our commitment to ensuring that all young people, no matter their starting point in life, should have an equal chance to a quality education and pursue their aspirations. I know that the University of Edinburgh will be a tremendous resource in equipping Scholars with the knowledge and skills they need to lead their communities.”Professor James Smith, the University of Edinburgh’s Vice-Principal International, said: “The University shares the Foundation’s vision of positive social and economic change through educational opportunities for promising African students.”“The partnership builds on Edinburgh’s long history of African engagement. Julius Nyerere and Dawda Jawara – who led Tanzania and the Gambia to independence – studied at Edinburgh, as did two Presidents of South Africa’s African National Congress party.“Our partnership with The MasterCard Foundation will ensure that the University of Edinburgh’s legacy of educating Africans who helped to shape their countries and indeed their continent, will continue.”The Principal of the University of Edinburgh, Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, said: “This visionary gift shows the extraordinary global impact philanthropy can have. We understand the transformative power of education and the value of a truly diverse, international campus.”“Together with The MasterCard Foundation and other generous donors, the University of Edinburgh will continue to widen access to education to the most deserving students world-wide.”
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ow, so late goals sometimes work in your favour. It must be Christmas!I was on the draw yesterday at Anfield so when Skrtel popped up with the equaliser on the 97th minutes (ninety seventh minute) it was a present come early.That result gave the column a 12.5 point profit on the day and is now 64.38 points since the start of the World Cup !!Last Premier match before the festivities tonight and the big question is how many goals will Stoke let in tonight ? They have conceded 10 in their last five games at home and Chelsea are sure to pounce on any gift-wrapped goal opportunities tonight.Man City have put Chelsea under a little bit of pressure, for the first time this season and suddenly it’s all square at the top of the table.This is also Chelsea’s first away game since being beaten 2-1 by Newcastle earlier in the month and Mourinho will no doubt want to see a reaction to that and a return to be clear top of the table before Christmas.Stoke don’t have a great record against Chelsea – but DID win this fixture 3-2 last season with a last-minute winner from Oussama Assaidi.STOKE v CHELSEAPremier8pm LIVE SKYHEAD TO HEAD(Maximum 10 matches)Apr 2014 Premier Chelsea 3-0 StokeJan 2014 FA Cup Chelsea 1-0 StokeDec 2013 Premier Stoke 3-2 ChelseaJan 2013 Premier Stoke 0-4 ChelseaSep 2012 Premier Chelsea 1-0 StokeMar 2012 Premier Chelsea 1-0 StokeAug 2011 Premier Stoke 0-0 ChelseaApr 2011 Premier Stoke 1-1 ChelseaAug 2010 Premier Chelsea 2-0 StokeApr 2010 Premier Chelsea 7-0 StokeI think there will be plenty of goals tonight at the Britannia so am keeping it simple and going over 2.5 goals at around evens with Star Sports.RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-50 points)BACK OVER 2.5 GOALS for 9 points at around evens with Star SportsRETURN SINCE START OF WORLD CUP: PROFIT 64.38 POINTSWhat’s your view? CALL STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321
HORSE RACING2.25 MusselburghChestnut Ben 10/1 > 13/23.40 ChepstowRoll The Dough 5/1 > 100/307.25 DundalkMarvellous Ways 16/1 > 9/1LIVE FOOTBALLNational League19:45 BT Sport 1 / BT Sport 4K UHD2/1 Chester 13/10 Wrexham 21/10 DRAW [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 8 November BET WITH STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321
The final day of Punchestown on Saturday and I have four booked rides on the card. There’s plenty of rain about and I’m expecting the ground to ride soft.It’s a big day for me on Saturday collecting the Irish jockeys’ championship for the third time and I’m still pinching myself about how this year has gone.I thought I couldn’t better Cheltenham with the four winners but then it was all about Tiger Roll in the Grand National a few weeks later and that really was a dream come true as it’s the obvious race that all National Hunt jockeys want to get on their career CV’s. I’ve never been so happy to hear the number 13 called over the tannoy confirming the result.Thanks for all the support this season and hope you’ve enjoyed reading the blogs. I am not going far though and plan on kicking on as soon as the new season gets underway as early as Ballinrobe on Tuesday !!SATURDAYPUNCHESTOWNMIDNIGHT TOUR (3.50pm Annie Power Mares Champion Hurdle)This looks a red hot renewal headed up by last year’s winner Apple’s Jade and Benie Des Dieux who I was a half length second to at the Cheltenham Festival in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle. She ran a great race for me that day and is so consistent but keeps finding one or two too good at the very top level. She’s versatile ground wise having won previously on both good and soft ground and I’m hopeful of getting a slice of action.MITCHOUKA (4.25pm AES Champion Four Year Old Hurdle)Has been kept busy this season but has had a great time of it with four wins since last November. He lost all chance when badly hampered in the Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival but bounced back with a good for me the last day at Fairyhouse when runner-up to Saglawy in a Grade 2 but this is clearly a much tougher ask for us. All nine runners are trained by either Gordon (Elliott) or Willie (Mullins) and I think Stormy Ireland could run a big race after falling at the last in the Triumph Hurdle last time out.SPACE CADET (5pm)Has been running well all year and stays this trip well but it might just be that he is now paying the price for his consistency with his handicap mark. He was pulled up over hurdles in Fairyhouse on bottomless ground and is up 4lb for his good second to Pairofbrowneyes in the Leinster National run at Gowran Park. That’s the kind of form we would need to see a repeat of in this hugely competitive race. Isleofhopendreams, just touched off in the Irish Grand National and further down the weights Fletchers Flyer both look likely sorts for this race.DIAMOND KING (5.35pm)Another wide open handicap in which Willie Mullins saddles 14 of the 25 runners! Diamond King won for me the last day at Thurles where on paper he had an easy task but back in handicap company here the weight might well tell on the testing ground. We can’t really judge him too harshly though on the Cheltenham form of the Coral Cup as he never recovered from being badly hampered very early.Best Of LuckDAVY YOUR SAYIf you have a question for Davy drop us a line at email@example.com and we’ll try and include in the next blog…
Nice to get off the mark on the turf with a couple of winners at Leicester on Friday. Zulu Zander had the benefit of experience and built on his promising debut third in the Brocklesby at Doncaster and then later Eddystone Rock stayed on in good style to win the mile and a half handicap.I’ve six rides on Saturday but rest assured we’ll all be keeping a close eye on the events at Aintree. Tiger Roll is a lovely horse, jumps well and is from a stable going really well. I wish my fellow brand ambassador Davy Russell all the very best of luck.SATURDAYLINGFIELDCHICA DE LA NOCHE (2.00pm)She’s been busy on the all-weather this year and I was aboard when she just got home to win at Kempton two starts ago. She was a close-up fifth at Chelmsford last time out when the six furlongs might have been on the sharp side but back at seven she will hopefully run her race in what looks a competitive opener.SARYSHAGANN (3.10pm)Back on the flat after a spell over hurdles. He gave me a winner at Kempton last year over 1m 2f and should relish this longer trip. Sotomayor could be a danger after his course and distance win for which he’s now up 3lb in the weights.MYTHICAL MADNESS (3.45pm)El Ghazwani won very well over course and distance last week and is clearly the one we all have to beat here. My fella just seems to have been struggling with his handicap mark but is dropped another couple pounds which will hopefully allow him to be a little more competitive.WOLVERHAMPTONTECHNOLOGICAL (7.30pm)Small field of five but it looks quite competitive. I’ve only ridden him once before – that was at Lingfield when he ran a good race in second. I think the trip is fine and he’s down a pound in the handicap but he’s up against some in form rivals including Flaming Marvel from the James Fanshawe stable.FOLLOWTHESTEPS (8.00pm)Interesting to see if Kupa River runs again so quickly. I was fifth to him at Leicester on Friday and he’ll have a 6lb penalty if turning out again 24 hours later. Followthesteps is hopefully capable of finding further improvement and ran a good race for me when fourth at Wolverhampton last time out. The key, I guess, will be whether the first time cheekpieces bring about an improvement.GLORIOUS EMARATY (8.30pm)Looks on paper, at least, my best chance of a winner on the day. He ran a big race for Clive (Cox) at Chantilly last time out and was unlucky not to win and before that also had no luck in the run when second for me at Wolverhampton. There’s no doubting he has ability. Just needs a slice of luck now.Good luckADAM YOUR SAYIf you have a question for Adam drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try and include in the next blog…
FacebookTwitterPrintEmailAddThis Share CONTACT: Jade BoydPHONE: (713) 348-6778E-MAIL: email@example.comRice’s Connexions prepares for Vietnam launch Vietnam Education Foundation will promote CNX on leading education portal Rice University’s Connexions today announced an agreement with the Vietnam Education Foundation (VEF), Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) and the Vietnam Advanced Software Company (VASC) to deploy Connexions’ web-based, open-source document creation and management system and content to improve education and research throughout Vietnam. In a memorandum of understanding, the parties agreed to deploy Connexions in Vietnam and organize the first of a series Connexions training sessions next week in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. “Connexions will provide the tools that Vietnam needs to turn passive, open-source study materials into active learning resources for both teachers and students,” said Kien Pham, executive director of VEF, an independent U.S. federal agency created by Congress to strengthen relations between Vietnam and the U.S. through educational exchanges in science and technology. Connexions’ unique document creation and management software combines cutting-edge software with an innovative legal framework that encourages individuals to self-publish freely accessible educational materials. Connexions promotes collaboration among authors, instructors and students worldwide, and it fosters interdisciplinary and interinstitutional collaboration. “Our extensible, web-based technology, open-source licensing and unique content are a valuable combination for Vietnamese educators, both economically and academically,” said Connexions founder Richard Baraniuk. “Connexions will benefit Vietnam’s students and instructors by allowing them to both create and access materials that are free, constantly updated and presented in a unique way that engages students in ways that printed books cannot.” Under today’s agreement, MOET will coordinate and promote the use of Connexions at universities and institutions of higher learning throughout Vietnam. VASC, one of Vietnam’s leading software, Internet and media companies, and the owner of the open-source education portal Vietnam Open Courseware (VOCW), will act as technical collaborator and incorporate the use of Connexions’ tools on the VOCW portal. Connexions will provide regular software updates and technical advice and support to MOET and VASC, including training assistance. VEF will act as catalyst and facilitator, working closely with each of the partners to coordinate and promote the use of Connexions in Vietnam. No other publisher of open-source educational content can match Connexions offerings, due in part to Connexions’ early adoption of Creative Commons’ open licenses. The licensing ensures that materials can be accessed, modified, updated and refined by anyone without fear of legal conflict. In addition, Connexions’ content is stored in extensible, XML-based formats that ensure that any Connexions’ lesson can be easily and seamlessly translated into other languages. “Our technology makes it easy to both create content in Vietnamese and translate existing Connexions content into Vietnamese,” said Baraniuk, the Victor E. Cameron Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice. “This ease of translation is one reason instructors around the globe are already using our content in Spanish, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Italian and other languages.” Connexions has experienced rapid growth over the past year, both in terms of site visitors and in terms of authorship. This year, the site has attracted more than 500,000 unique visitors each month. Connexions adapts the open-source software concept to scholarly academic content, allowing anyone to freely publish course materials and create custom courses, textbooks and study guides. Connexions is organized around the “Content Commons,” an online repository that contains thousands of scholarly lessons or modules – each roughly equivalent to two or three pages from a textbook. Connexions provides free software that allows anyone to create, re-use, revise and recombine these modules to suit their needs. Connexions is funded primarily by Rice and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, which has awarded $2.25 million to the program.