first_imgDisabled people have expressed their anger and disappointment at the decision of Labour’s shadow disability minister to back legalising assisted suicide.Some disabled activists have called for Kate Green’s resignation, while others have not yet decided what action to take over her comments.Green’s admission came in an interview with Disability News Service (DNS) earlier this month.The latest attempt by the euthanasia lobby to persuade parliament to legalise assisted suicide will reach its next key stage on 11 September, when the assisted dying bill, proposed by Labour MP Rob Marris – and set to be supported by Green – is debated and voted on in the Commons.Messages from the Twitter account of Not Dead Yet UK (NDY UK), the user-led network leading disabled people’s opposition to legalisation, said the news of Green’s support for legislation was “shocking” and that her position was “untenable”, although this is not the official position of NDY UK.The tweets said: “Disabled ppl want assistance to live not die! Disabled ppls orgs have asked her to resign. It’s untenable to support #assistedsuicide and represent disabled ppl!”Catherine Garrod, an NDY UK member, said she and other members had contacted Green to ask her to resign, explaining their concerns about legalisation, but had received an identical email from the MP which failed to address any of their concerns.Garrod said: “Kate Green MP’s position is untenable as shadow minister for disabled people. “By actively supporting the assisted dying bill she is not representing the views of disabled people. Not one disabled people’s organisation in the UK supports assisted suicide.”She pointed to last year’s survey by the disability charity Scope, which found that nearly two-thirds of disabled people (64 per cent) were concerned about moves to legalise assisted suicide.Garrod added: “Many disabled people face prejudice, discrimination and hate crime on a daily basis and we are made to feel that we are an unaffordable burden on society. “This combined with the cuts to welfare, disability benefits and the closure of the Independent Living Fund are making disabled people feel that their lives are not worth living.“Calls for assisted suicide for terminally-ill and disabled people only reinforce this message.”Baroness [Jane] Campbell, one of the founders of NDY UK, said she would be seeking a meeting with Green this week, and that the network would agree its collective position after members had discussed the issue.She said: “It would be wrong to call for her resignation if I don’t know exactly what she’s saying.“For me, I cannot say at this point in time whether she should resign or not. I haven’t had the opportunity myself to talk to her.”Tara Flood, another leading disabled activist and member of NDY UK, said it was “despicable” of Green to support assisted suicide when she was shadow minister for disabled people.She said she had already been concerned about Green’s priorities as shadow minister before she heard of her support for assisted suicide.She said Green was clearly putting “more effort into ending our lives than supporting our right to independent living, choice and control”, such as her failure to oppose the closure of the Independent Living Fund.She said: “You can’t possibly have those views. She will say some disabled people want [assisted suicide] but she is not interested in why that might be.”Dennis Queen, another influential member of NDY UK, also called for the MP to resign as shadow minister.She said it was impossible for Green to represent disabled people’s interests if she supported “further erosion of the laws which affect our equal right to life and living”.She added: “She doesn’t believe in our equality, therefore cannot represent us.”Sir Bert Massie, former chair of the Disability Rights Commission, another leading disabled figure who opposes legalisation – and a Labour party member – said he was “very disappointed” with Green’s position.He said: “I suspect that people like Kate have not fully understood the arguments.“When I see what is happening in Belgium, the way the law is spreading and the way the medical profession is largely behind it and getting the public and the press behind it, it worries me enormously. I think it is exactly what would happen here.”He said he accepted that some disabled people were in favour of legalising assisted suicide, but the fact that not a single disabled people’s organisation backs a new law “should be a very clear sign for her”.He said: “I wouldn’t call for her to resign. Nor would I say she should stay in post. I am very disappointed with her position.”Tracey Lazard, chief executive of Inclusion London, said Green’s position was a distraction from the battle to defeat Marris’ bill.She said: “We don’t think that calling for her resignation at this time will achieve what is most important to disabled people, which is to make sure Marris’ bill is defeated in the Commons.“We cannot be complacent and there is a lot of work for us all to do over the summer to get the message out about what this bill really means and why it is so crucial to oppose it.“We encourage everyone who can to get actively on board with the campaign being led by Not Dead Yet UK, with support from Inclusion London and DPAC.”Liz Sayce, chief executive of Disability Rights UK, said: “I oppose changing the law on assisted suicide – indeed if we’re talking about legal change we need much stronger independent living rights, not easier routes to death when people are in dire need of support.“Phil Friend, our ambassador and former chair, [is one of the founders of] Not Dead Yet. We will be discussing this with members and our board and raising our concerns with Kate Green.”Simone Aspis, of consultancy Changing Perspectives, and another prominent disabled activist, called for Green to resign.She said: “I don’t know how Kate Green could say she is a shadow minister for disabled people when she talks about a right to die when she hasn’t done anything to help disabled people live with the appropriate support they need through the Independent Living Fund.“If she talks about assistance to die before assistance to live, where are her priorities?”Disabled blogger Kaliya Franklin, who tweets at @BendyGirl, said on Twitter: “I’m inclined to the view that the Shadow Minister should either abstain from assisted suicide vote or resign.”Green said today (Friday): “I’m continuing to speak to disabled campaigners. I am aware of strong feeling on all sides of this argument.”And she said that MPs would be allowed to vote according to their “conscience” on 11 September.last_img read more

first_imgA disabled woman has been forced to quit her job because two “Disability Confident” government organisations refused to allow her to use one of the parking spaces close to the offices where she worked.Leonora Bateman worked for a company wholly owned by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), while the offices where she worked – and the parking spaces – were run by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).An MP has described Bateman’s treatment as “scandalous” and said her case demonstrates how “worthless” DWP’s Disability Confident scheme is.Bateman (pictured) had been working for BPDTS, a company set up last year by DWP to provide it with its IT services and based at HMRC-run offices in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.She had asked for permission to park her car in one of the spaces near the BPDTS offices, as her mental health condition means she experiences severe anxiety attacks when walking long distances on her own.She was originally granted a short-term permit that allowed her to park near the offices, but HMRC told her she would not be allowed a permanent permit because she did not have a mobility impairment.Even though HMRC accepted in an email that she was a disabled person under the Equality Act 2010, she was told she could only have a permit if she secured a blue parking badge from the local council, despite two occupational health assessments recommending that she be allowed to park close to the offices.But it can be almost impossible for many disabled people whose mobility is affected solely by mental health conditions to qualify for blue badges, because of “discriminatory” government guidance.HMRC even suggested that Bateman could claim support through the Access to Work scheme, which would have cost the government thousands of pounds a year in taxi payments, even though she already has a car. She also says that using twice-daily taxis would have caused her significant further anxiety.Labour’s newly-elected disabled MP for Battersea, Marsha de Cordova, said this week that the way Bateman had been treated was “scandalous” and that the government should be “leading by example” when it comes to employing disabled people.She said: “When it comes to employing disabled people, the government needs to lead by example.“They need to be the models of best practice. They are not. That’s a clear example of where things are going wrong.”The case comes only four months after prime minister Theresa May promised – in her general election manifesto – that a Conservative government would “transform how mental health is regarded in the workplace”.Both BPDTS and HMRC – as well as DWP itself – have signed up to DWP’s Disability Confident scheme, and are accredited as Disability Confident Employers, the second of the scheme’s three levels.As Disability Confident Employers, they are supposed to “make a commitment to employ and retain disabled people”.They are also supposed to promise that they are “proactively offering and making reasonable adjustments as required” to disabled employees.De Cordova said that Bateman’s case showed that Disability Confident – which has been criticised for being “trivially easy to abuse” and allowing organisations to describe themselves as “disability confident” even if they fail to comply with anti-discrimination laws – was “worthless”.Bateman started working for BPDTS at the HMRC-run Benton Park View complex in March, having transferred from Hewlett Packard, which had provided IT services to DWP before the department set up BPDTS.Because of HMRC’s failure to allow her to park near the BPDTS offices, for the first couple of months she had to ask her parents to drive her to work.The stress of trying to persuade her employer to make a reasonable adjustment by providing her with a parking space left her so emotionally exhausted that she became unwell.She was given a short-term medical permit that lasted a month, but was told it would not be extended when it ran out.She had attempted to use a car-park located about three-quarters of a mile from the offices when she attended her two-day induction for the job with BPDTS, but became so distressed by the long walk that she later had to call her mother to pick her up.She has now handed in her notice, and is currently off sick while she serves her notice period.She said: “Without this reasonable adjustment being made, I physically cannot get into work. I feel I have been treated very unfairly.“It’s having a long-lasting effect on my mental health. I don’t think it has been fully appreciated by the team responsible for rejecting my application.”A DWP spokeswoman refused to comment, although she confirmed that BPDTS was a Disability Confident Employer.She said DWP could not comment because BPDTS was “a separate legal entity with its own governance structure”.DNS pointed out that BPDTS was wholly-owned by DWP, that its two executive directors were both employed by DWP and that its five non-executive directors were also senior DWP officers, but she declined to comment further.An HMRC spokesman said in a statement: “We do not comment on the personal circumstances of individual users of the site.”DNS offered to ask Bateman to give her permission for HMRC to discuss her allegations, but that offer was refused by the spokesman.He claimed HMRC was “fully compliant with our requirements under the Equality Act”.BPDTS has failed to return calls from DNS.last_img read more

first_imgA note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS… The UN expert investigating the government’s record on eradicating poverty has described how he has heard “pretty horrendous” evidence from disabled people while conducting a 12-day factfinding visit to the UK.Professor Philip Alston, the UN’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, also told Disability News Service (DNS) that the government had not made the progress he would have expected in securing “real equality” for disabled people.And he made it clear, after speaking at an event in London on Tuesday evening (pictured), that the impact of universal credit on the poverty experienced by disabled people and other groups would play an important part in his report.He said: “I don’t think I could avoid it as a big issue.”He said that disabled people had made up a “significant proportion” of the community and other groups he had met, and those he had met had told him “stories which are pretty troubling to hear.“They paint a picture of a system which doesn’t respond to their particular challenges and problems in the way that it should.”He said that that did not surprise him on one level because disabled people faced discrimination all over the world.But he added: “On the other hand there is a formal commitment [in the UK, through the Equality Act] to treat them with full respect and care.“One would have hoped there would have been more progress in terms of real equality for people with disabilities.”Alston had made it clear earlier that, because of the strict rules of the UN process he was undertaking, he could not yet speak “in a very direct way” about his findings.In response to a question from DNS during the event, he told the audience that he had met many disabled people during his visit who had described their experiences of poverty, particularly in relation to universal credit and the disability benefit assessment process.He said: “I have to say that I have heard some pretty horrendous stories.”He added: “One of the issues that I’m conscious of, and it’s an easy reply if government wants to make it, is that of course my audience is self-selecting.“In other words, people who feel that the system is working really well, who have had a good deal, who really love their work coach, are not going to come along to a meeting with me nor send me a letter saying the system is great, mate.“So I naturally tend to get people who are deeply discontented but it has to be said that I have had probably more than my expected share of people with disabilities who have had pretty awful experiences.”He also told the meeting that the UK government had delivered a “relatively dismissive” response to last year’s report by the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities, in which the committee had told the government to make more than 80 improvements to how its laws and policies affect disabled people’s human rights. But Alston also told the event – organised by the UK human rights consortium Just Fair and the Human Rights Lawyers Association – that he had been told earlier that day by the government that there had been no austerity.Although he later declined to identify to DNS which minister or civil servant had made the comment, he had just described having meetings that day with work and pensions secretary Esther McVey (who resigned from the cabinet this morning), as well as an unnamed work and pensions minister and a junior Treasury minister.He said: “I was told today that there isn’t austerity. That government expenditure in almost all areas has gone up steadily in the last 10 years.“So I asked what Philip Hammond and Theresa May were talking about [when they talk about an end to austerity]. I didn’t get a particularly good answer to that.”Alston also said that he had received “very surprising” answers from the government when he had asked about the use of foodbanks, although he declined to expand on what ministers told him.He said: “The impact of these policies on communities is going to be an important element in my final report.”He was asked by an audience member whether he had been examining whether government austerity measures, including benefit sanctions, might amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.Alston said there were problems with the sanctions statistics that the Department for Work and Pensions places on its website, with “a lot of data that is not made available”.He added: “The challenge to me is to be able to describe accurately what is really going on, but I think I will be able to do that.“Whether I would categorise it as cruel and inhuman, I will see how I feel on Thursday night when I’m finishing writing my statement.“There is a whole book that has that title, which I’ve read and I am well aware that many of the people who have experienced these sort of sanctions would categorise them in that way.”Alston told the meeting that although he had “no power” and could not order the UK government to take any action, he hoped his report would be strong enough to “resonate with people” so that it would “have legs” and would “continue to be discussed”.He said he knew the UK government would not welcome his report and would not agree to implement it, but he hoped to be able to “shine a light on some issues that could do with added attention”.He also pointed to the role that tabloid newspapers and others – including those owned by his fellow Australian Rupert Murdoch (now a US citizen) – had played in stigmatising and distorting human rights “so we all know that human rights are only for drug dealers and terrorists”.He said this had “highlighted for many of us in the human rights community the need to start rehabilitating the notion of human rights”, and to emphasise that human rights “are for the average person and not just for the particularly vulnerable groups”.He said: “If people aren’t getting enough food to eat I think there should be reasonable outrage and I think it would be useful to see that from a rights perspective, but I think that’s going to take time.“I think that’s what many of us in the field need to start working on.”Alston also said that the international system of human rights provided a way to hold governments accountable for their actions.He said: “What has to be recognised is that being in poverty is a grave threat to your civil and political rights.“Most of the people [in the world] who are tortured, most of the people who are killed, most of the people who are abused in prisons or elsewhere are poor. They are abused in part because they are poor.“They are easy victims, they don’t have recourse, they don’t have people to defend them, they can’t afford lawyers.“Attacking the poor is easy, and they as a result suffer highly disproportionately in terms of their civil and political rights.”Alston and his team carried out months of detailed research in advance of their 12-day visit, which saw them visit Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Jaywick, London, and Newcastle.He is set to issue a preliminary 10-page statement tomorrow (Friday) before publishing his final report in June.last_img read more

first_imgA FIFTEEN minute period either side of half time saw the Reserves lose out to Warrington 16-14 in a game they otherwise dominated writes Graham Henthorne.But the real story was again one of missed chances which cost the Saints dear.The Saints opened with a vigour which has been lacking too often in the season and pushed the visitors back forcing them to kick from deep.With Jordan Hand and Anthony Walker leading from the front the Saints had the upper hand and were rewarded with the opening score.The Wolves knocked on in their own half and from the scrum just tipped the ball into touch as the Saints broke down the short side. From the second scrum Matty Ashurst was stopped inches short but as the ball was moved left Danny Yates put Andrew Dixon clean through to the line.Good aggressive defence, this time from Alex Trumper, harrying the kicker forced another error and four tackles later Tommy Johnson banged over his second conversion of the afternoon this time for a high shot.Had Dan Brotherton managed to convert his 80 metre run minutes earlier into a score instead of being run into touch, the Saints would have been further ahead.As it was the Wolves took advantage of a tiring Saints side knocking on and gifting them possession with two converted tries. The second coming after Joe Greenwood and Danny Yates had crafted a half chance for sub Marcus Baines.A poor start to the second half saw the visitor’s score what was ultimately the winning try as the Saints were caught out wide.On the next set a Yates bomb was dropped on his own line by the Wolves winger but he still had the presence of mind to keep Brotherton out. From the play the ball Joe Greenwood had the ball 5 metres out but chose not to dive at the line, was held up and the chance was gone.Quick play the balls from the returning Aaron Lloyd out to Nathan Ashe gave the space for him to find Tommy Johnson on the inside. The full back took it on to his opposite number before feeding Matty Ashurst to go over at the posts.The momentum was with the Saints but despite try as hard as they did they couldn’t muster another score.Despite lacking any sort of last tackle option, this was one of the better performances of the year which only goes to show where the Reserves could have been had they played this way more often.Match Summary:Saints:Tries: Andrew Dixon, Matty Ashurst.Goals: Tommy Johnson 3.Warrington:Tries: Chris Riley, Jack Cooper, Ryan Shaw.Goals: Ryan Shaw 2.HT: 8-12FT: 14-16Teams:Saints:1. Tommy Johnson; 2. James Hill, 3. Josh Jones, 4. Alex Trumper, 5. Dan Brotherton; 6. Nathan Ashe, 7. Danny Yates; 8. Jordan Hand, 9. Aaron Lloyd, 10. Anthony Walker, 11. Andrew Dixon, 12. Scott Hale, 13. Matty Ashurst.Subs: 14. Marcus Baines, 15. Joe Greenwood, 16. Gareth Frodsham, 17. Carl Forster.Warrington:1. Chris Riley; 5. Chris Fleming, 4. Ben Hellewell, 6. Ryan Shaw, 2. Rhys Williams; 3. James Mendieka, 7. Jordan Burke; 8. Glenn Riley, 28. Gavin Williams, 10. Jack Cooper, 11. Ben Curry, 12. James Laithwaite, 13. Andrew Finn.Subs: 9. Liam Hulme, 15. Brad Dwyer, 20. James Saltonstall, 17. Brooke Broughton.last_img read more

first_imgAUSTRALIA and Fiji have been training at Langtree Park ahead of tomorrow’s World Cup Group A match.Both sides had strong sessions on the pitch as they honed their skills for the crunch clash.Tickets for the match, which kicks off at 8pm, remain on sale from Langtree Park as well as www.rlwc2013.comlast_img

first_imgThey sponsored a football match that was played on The Float at Marina Bay – a platform which is part of the Singapore Grand Prix circuit, as the event concluded.Teams were selected to play in Liverpool and St. Helens colours, with 35 players taking part in the afternoon heat.The final score was 3-2 to Liverpool in a game that was played in great spirit – and the winning captain was presented with the Nelson Mandela memorial trophy by the South African High Commissioner to Singapore.The shirts will next be on proud display at the ‘Giro Di Lombok’ cycle ride round Lombok to raise the profile of disabled sports with an official charity of RCMA.last_img

first_img Event coordinator Marc Biddison says this was a lot bigger than last year. He says veterans need to be welcomed home and appreciated.As a Vietnam veteran, Biddison says his return home, years ago, was ‘despicable’.“The start of this parade was to get Vietnam veterans, specifically, into a parade and let them feel the love as it were and that happened,” said Biddison. “It happened first last year and then,again, this year.”Related Article: 4th of July celebration wraps up along Wilmington riverfrontBiddison says Wilmington is a great military city with a lot of history.He says being just miles away from Camp Lejeune and Fort Bragg draws a lot of military here. WILMINGTON,NC (WWAY) — Families flooded the streets of downtown Wilmington on Saturday waving american flags and cheering on the marching veterans at the 2nd annual Veteran’s Day parade.Over 1,000 people participated in this street show.- Advertisement – last_img read more

first_imgThe Grow N.C. coffee shop opened in Chandler’s Wharf in downtown Wilmington. (Photo: StarNews) WILMINGTON, NC (StarNews) — Grow N.C. is a cozy new coffee shop in downtown Wilmington. It’s location, tucked into one of the spaces at Chandler’s Wharf, means it’s essentially underground, owner Gus Villapiano said. He capitalized on that atmosphere of vaulted ceilings and exposed brick by adding comfy couches and local wood bars sourced from Brunswick and Wilson counties.The coffee shop opened Jan. 10 serving hot and cold brewed coffee and espresso drinks, some of which can be enjoyed with CBD additives. It’s a legal hemp-derived compound purported to have medical benefits. Grow N.C. offers Hushpuff CBD infused sweetener and local coffee from Lucky Joe Craft Coffee.- Advertisement – Villapiano is also planning to source local vegan, gluten-free goodies. And by the the grand opening, which is yet to be scheduled, look for craft cocktails and house-infused liquors.Read more here.last_img read more

first_imgNEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The 8th grade graduation ceremony at The International School at Gregory was a little extra special Wednesday morning.The dual-immersion school graduated its first-ever class Wednesday with 16 students.- Advertisement – The principal says most of the kids have been together since kindergarten, up through 8th grade.She says the school merged with Forest Hills three years ago, and each child comes out of the dual immersion program fluent in Spanish.“We are unique to New Hanover County because we’re the only dual-language, public magnet school in New Hanover County,” Principal Leigh Ann Lampley said. “Like I said, it’s a very diverse program.”Related Article: Wilmington music teacher gets state award for work-based learningLampley says they enroll 88 students every year. She says the school is still accepting applications for next year.last_img read more

first_imgIn April 2015, a single shipwreck claimed the lives of over 800 people fleeing Libya. Only 28 survivors were found, with the exact death toll impossible to determine. 24 recovered bodies were brought to Malta and laid to rest in an unmarked plot at Addolorata Cemetery.On Wednesday, Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna prayed over the grave at the cemetery. He also laid flowers together with members of NGOs.Speaking to, he said, “Unfortunately, for these people, Malta was their final resting place, as they died in the Mediterranean. This is an occasion which reminds us that we need to continue showing our solidarity, while we work so all of Europe and the Mediterranean will be a place to welcome those in need. The Mediterranean must not become a cemetery for people looking for a better life.”The Archbishop also thanked all those who work to save people in this situation, including the Armed Forces of Malta. He added that Malta needs the solidarity of Europe to continue to be a presence that helps and welcomes those who are in need.  Miguela Xuereb Miguela Xuereb Miguela Xuereb Miguela Xuereb Miguela Xuereb Miguela Xuereb Miguela Xuereb Miguela Xuereb Miguela Xuereb Miguela Xuereb Miguela XuerebWhatsApp SharePrint <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more