The father of a man who took his own life after be

first_imgThe father of a man who took his own life after being found “fit for work” believes his son would still be alive if he had not been failed by the benefits system the government and its contractor, Atos.Stephen Carre, 41, from Eaton Bray, Bedfordshire, died in January 2010, after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) confirmed its decision that he was ineligible for its new out-of-work benefit, employment and support allowance (ESA).His father, Peter, said his son had suddenly stopped working in July 2007, and then lived off his savings for two years until his money ran out in 2009. His parents then paid his mortgage until he finally began claiming benefits in April 2009.Stephen (pictured) had previously worked for the Civil Service and then various electronics and communications companies, including as a telecommunications consultant, with firms such as Cisco, Ericsson and Lucient, mainly on software installations which manage mobile phone charges.After he quit his job, he rarely left his home, refused to talk to friends and relatives, or answer the door or telephone, and often spent days on end in the same room, surrounded by his possessions.He finally began talking again to his father and step-mother, Frances, in early 2009, and in April 2009 they persuaded him to apply for ESA.Peter said his son had struggled to cope with his anxiety and depression, although he had a girlfriend he saw occasionally.He said: “He couldn’t go anywhere on his own for the first time. I had to go with him to his psychiatrist. He would only go to certain shops, and only on a certain day.”Peter even had to accompany Stephen to the assessment centre two or three times before he was comfortable with the idea of attending his benefits eligibility test on his own.ESA had been launched by the Labour government less than a year earlier, and concerns about the test, the work capability assessment (WCA), had not yet fully emerged.At his assessment, a doctor employed by the government contractor Atos Healthcare decided that Stephen failed to match any of the criteria for eligibility and awarded him zero points, when he needed 15 to qualify for ESA.The assessor concluded that there was “no evidence to suggest that the client’s health condition due to their depression, is uncontrolled, uncontrollable or life threatening”.When that conclusion was rubber-stamped by a DWP decision-maker, Stephen asked DWP to reconsider the decision, as he believed it “disagrees wildly” with the opinion of his GP, his community psychiatric nurse and his psychiatrist.On his appeal form, he wrote that the medical assessment “bears no relation to the medical I had”, and that the report was completed by the assessor eight days after the assessment took place.He found out early in January 2010 that DWP had agreed with its earlier decision, so he was ineligible for ESA.Although he began the next stage of the appeal process, he took his own life sometime in the next few days. His body was found on 18 January 2010.Frances said she believes Stephen had made a sudden decision to kill himself, as he had recently been shopping and there was fresh food in his fridge.Two months later, at his inquest, the coroner heard from Stephen’s GP and psychiatrist, who both said they had not been asked by the Atos assessor or DWP to provide details of his state of mental health.The coroner, Tom Osborne, announced that he would write a Rule 43 report, a letter warning of a risk of future deaths if changes are not carried out by individuals or organisations.In the letter, Tom Osborne said the evidence had shown that the “trigger” that led to Stephen’s decision to take his own life had been “the rejection of his appeal that he was not fit for work”.He added: “I feel the decision not to seek medical advice from the claimant’s own GP or psychiatrist if they are suffering a mental illness should be reviewed.“Both doctors who gave evidence before me confirmed that if they had been approached they would have been willing to provide a report of Mr Carre’s present condition and prognosis.”DWP were told of Stephen’s death by his father, but they failed to inform the tribunal service, so when Peter Carre attended the appeal on his son’s behalf, he brought Stephen’s ashes with him.Because of the inadequacy of the Atos assessment, the appeal had to be adjourned.The following year, the tribunal ruled that Stephen should have been eligible for ESA and that the form completed by the Atos assessor was “not a sound basis” on which to turn down his ESA claim because of the eight-day delay between the assessment and the completion of the form, while there had been “no indication how much [of the form] was completed”.The tribunal concluded that the Atos assessor’s report was “a suspect document”, because it did not appear to have dealt with the information provided by Stephen’s ESA50 claim form.Later that month, the manager of Stephen’s local benefit delivery centre, in Luton, wrote to Peter Carre and said she agreed with the tribunal appeal that Stephen should have been eligible for ESA.Peter wrote back, and told her there had been a “dismal failure” by both the benefits service and Atos and that he had attended Stephen’s tribunals on his behalf “to bring to notice the inept handling by the registered medical practitioner at Stephen’s medical review”.Peter Carre told DNS that Atos, its assessor and DWP had all failed Stephen.He said: “Anyone could have seen that Stephen was incapable of work. It is totally beyond me how they could have found him fit for work.“If they had gone to his GP or his psychiatrist, I have no doubt the result of his assessment would have been different and he would probably still be with us today.”In a written statement responding to questions from DNS, a DWP spokesman declined to comment when asked if ministers would apologise to the family of Stephen Carre.He said: “Suicide is a tragic and complex issue and there are often many reasons why someone takes their life, so to link it to one event is misleading. “Since this inquest took place under the previous government we have made significant improvements to the work capability assessment, including improving the process for people with mental health conditions.“The percentage of people with mental health conditions who get the highest level of support has more than tripled since 2010, and we will continue to ensure that those who are able to work get all the help they need to move into a job when they are ready.”He said improvements made since 2010 include “improving the opportunities people have to present medical evidence”.The DWP spokesman said claimants were “encouraged to provide all evidence that will be relevant to their case at the outset of the claim, including medical evidence supplied by their GP or other medical professionals, while WCA assessors are “expected to seek further evidence in situations where it would help them to place someone in the support group without calling a claimant in for a face-to-face assessment”.He said a DWP decision-maker will “assess all available evidence and seek more if required to reach their decision”.But he admitted that DWP was still in discussions with Maximus – which took over the WCA contract from Atos earlier this year – to “pilot new evidence-seeking processes for claimants with mental health conditions”.Atos refused to respond to requests for a comment.last_img read more

SF Four Barrel suspends business following sexual harassment allegations against founder

first_imgThe lawsuit also alleges that the company’s management dismissed employees’ concerns about Tooker’s behavior. One woman was fired after bringing up Tooker’s behavior with a manager. On Saturday, Tooker agreed to leave the company and divest from it, a note on the company’s website said. The note was signed by Jodi Geren and Tal Mor, the company’s current leaders. “ … we take issue with the claims being asserted in the lawsuit, and the mischaracterization of our current culture,” they say in the statement. The lawsuit claims Geren and Mor told employees who raised concerns about Tooker not to “raise drama,” the Chronicle reported.  A Four Barrel employee told Mission Local on Friday that she was contemplating finding a new job following the news. Some customers we spoke to said they would consider not coming back. Four Barrel Coffee suspended business this weekend following sexual harassment allegations by eight women against the coffee company’s owner, Jeremy Tooker, that were revealed Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, the Valencia store sat locked and dormant with a note taped to its door: “We are closed today, taking care of each other,” the note reads. “You’ll hear from us soon.” The Valencia Street store is one of three locations in San Francisco. The two other stores appear to be closed as well. Calls to the Portola location, as well as the Mill on Divisadero Street, went unanswered. It’s unclear how long they will remain shuttered.The lawsuit, first reported by the Chronicle, alleges that Tooker assaulted a female employee in a hotel room and forcibly kissed and touched others without consent. 0%center_img Tags: Business • coffee shops • sexual violence Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img read more

Vacancies abound on Mission Street but less than half are for lease

first_imgBusiness was thriving when Marian’s Apparel first opened shop on 2046 Mission Street. But after 63 years of clothing and serving the community with its in-store credit system, the store was shut down in 2016. “The economy, the internet, and all the competition” led to the store’s demise, according to Joel Anker, who managed the store along with his brother-in-law. Two years, later the space remains vacant — an increasing condition along Mission Street: Mission Local counted 49 vacant properties along Mission from Duboce Ave. to Cesar Chavez.But, as is true with so many storefronts that look empty, not all stand vacant waiting for a tenant. In fact, of the 49 vacancies, only 19 are for sale or lease; eight are not on the market, eight are undergoing renovations, and 11 recently submitted permit applications or were recently approved to make renovations. The status of three vacant storefronts could not be confirmed. Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Vallie Brown last week announced the Storefront Vacancy Strategy, an initiative aimed at lowering the number of vacant storefronts across the city by streamlining the city’s response to the business permitting process.The initiative will attempt to alleviate the struggles many realtors face when leasing storefronts along Mission Street, and it theoretically would allow for more creative use of space, but specific restrictions remain. Large companies and businesses that sell alcohol, for example, will continue to face tightened restrictions in an effort by the city to fight gentrification and displacement in the area.Photo by JoeBill MuñozA microcosm of the vacancy problemThe addresses 2949, 2959, and 2967 Mission Street stand by side by side. Located between 25th and 26th Streets, the storefronts were most recently were known as The Fizzary, Mission Critter and Merlos Financial. Now they’re all vacant.The Fizzary, a retail shop with hundreds of soda options, closed in 2015 after three years in business. The storefront was subleased later that year to someone operating an illegal gambling den. Records from March show property owner Roberto Sanchez applied to change the building’s use from retail to restaurant. The storefront remains vacant.Mission Critter, a local pet shop, stood at 2959 Mission St. for five years. Then business slowed and Tim Costigan, the owner, closed shop in June, another victim of online shopping, according to Costigan. The 1,450 square foot space is ready to be leased for $2.75 month per square foot, according to Ed Maiello, president of Citivision Commercial Real Estate. He is working with HCM Commercial to lease out this space.“It’s hard to rent the space out,” said Maiello. “It’s not on the best block of Mission Street.”This kind of reporting takes real reporters – not bots. Support an independent press today. Merlos Financial once stood at 2967 Mission St, but Mission Local couldn’t confirm how long the storefront has been empty. It was sold in March of this year for $2 million, according to property records. It appears to currently be off the market, and no recent permit applications have been filed for this address. Neighbors could not confirm the status of the building. Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletter MAP KEY: For sale = yellow; For lease = red; For sublease = orange; Off-market = green; Renovating = brown; Permit in review or recently approved = black; Unconfirmed = purple.What used to be a coffee house and bakery business at 3017 Mission between Cesar Chavez and 26th Streets has now been vacant for about two years. The building owner, Philip Fernandez, said he does not know why the business shut down.After the bakery closed, new tenants planned to convert the space for restaurant use. But Fernandez said a contractor misled the tenants and they never managed to get the approvals needed to move forward with construction. It has remained without tenants for nearly a year now.Fernandez said he is in no rush to put it back on the market.The Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance years ago requiring properties left vacant for over a month to be registered with the Department of Building Inspection. Building owners would then be charged an annual fee as long as the space remained vacant. But the ordinance has largely gone unenforced. Planning Commissioner Dennis Richards said enforcement is an issue with any initiative.“When the Board passes something, they need to fund enforcing,” he said. “Without the enforcement funding, you have these rules that become kind of meaningless.”This lack of enforcement might change with new legislation introduced by Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer last week. If approved, owners of vacant storefronts would face tightened requirements, like paying four times the registration fee if they fail to register within the required time frame.Fernandez said 3017 Mission Street, part of a four-story building filled with corporate and local businesses, will probably end up being a coffee house or bakery when he puts it up for lease at about $2 per square foot.He blames the vacancy problem on Mission Street on tenants having to keep up with so many “regulations, rents, city approvals, and city fees.”That complaint became a repeated chorus as Mission Local worked to figure out why vacant properties line Mission Street. “The Mission is a very challenging place to bring new business,” said Santino DeRose, a managing broker at DeRose & Applebaum, a commercial real estate company. He lists zoning limitations as the biggest challenge because “finding contractors to go through all this is very difficult.”By “all this” he means the heavy permitting process that most realtors we spoke with want to be streamlined. It’s too early to tell if Breed’s new initiative will solve this. But restrictions are there. At present, many of the ground floor vacancies are limited to local retail businesses, even though, according to the realtors we spoke with, larger companies tend to have the time and money required to get through the city’s permitting process. “It’s the new entrepreneur that doesn’t have the money and time,” said Richards, referring to the long and expensive permitting process in the Mission and across the city. Those are the kinds of businesses the Mission community wants, according to Richards.But even small businesses need to apply for permits to get their sites up to code. Permits depend on the type of business they want to open.“I get what London Breed is trying to do, which is rethink our zoning,” said Louis Cornejo, president and founder of Urban Real Estate Group. As it stands now, “the city is requiring more retail — more supply than there is demand,” said Cornejo. “I’d love for businesses to be spending more on the Mission, but only certain businesses can be here.”Cornejo added that the large, narrow spaces available on Mission Street are difficult to fill — permit issues or not.“The only available product on Mission is too large for most uses, and then it only allows very few uses for that space,” he said.Take 2813 Mission as an example. It used to be a Western Dental, and then they moved down the street because they needed to renovate the space. “They found a better deal, and they didn’t want to renovate on their own,” said Alexander Kolovyansky, director of investment sales at Vanguard Properties.The building Kolovyansky is leasing has nearly 3,000 square feet of space on each of its two floors, according to, an online site for commercial real estate postings. The large spaces are “not for everyone,” according to Kolovyansky. “The people who can take those spaces are the people who also face formula retail.”Passed in 2007, formula retail restricts businesses with more than 11 stores anywhere in the world. If they want to start the 12th location in San Francisco, they must go through an additional public review process.Although these chain businesses have previously been approved on Mission Street, many simply don’t think it’s worth going through the process.“They just won’t go into the Mission because they’re scared of being rejected,” said DeRose. “And the neighborhood doesn’t really want them there, so there’s that.”Many realtors we spoke with agreed that people would rather do business elsewhere. “I really think San Francisco is in for a backlash of people leaving the city,” said Raoul Isaac, a real estate broker.It’s a sentiment several other realtors echoed.To alleviate these tensions, the Board of Supervisors recently approved a new Flexible Retail Use ordinance, spearheaded by Supervisor Katy Tang. The ordinance would allow different types of businesses to run out of the same space, including pop-ups — and it might help solve the large-space issue may realtors run into. This ordinance does not apply to the Mission District, but “each supervisor might want to consider this for their districts and make it city-wide,” said Richards. As with other initiatives in the city, legislation enforcement will be needed for this new use of space.That, once again, is also the case for another piece of legislation passed last week aimed at filling empty storefronts. Initially introduced by Supervisor Norman Yee and passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors, this new legislation will “help create affordable child care units for family child care operators in the ground floor space of new and existing mixed-use developments.”The ordinance is meant to be a compromise between building owners with vacant storefronts and home-based family child care providers who need a space for their business after facing housing displacement.Once again, permits will be needed to get buildings up to code. Child care facilities, per state law, must abide by additional, specific regulations to make buildings safe for children. “The regulations are important for the safety of the children, but it takes a lot for places to qualify,” said Kolovyansky, who has previously worked to find spaces for preschool businesses. “There’s a lot of good ideas but difficult implementation,” he said, because “unless it’s heavily subsidized, they still have to pay for a lot to keep the doors open.”Richards agreed: “They can’t open unless they have the right things in place. You’re dealing with children, so it’s a life-safety issue.”He likes the idea, though. “I hope that it’s successful. It certainly is a public use.”Public use is something Richards thinks about often when reviewing new businesses. It’s one of the reasons he said office use is not being considered for ground floor storefronts. “Office spaces aren’t active uses,” he said. “They aren’t open to the public.”If a business wants to put office space on the ground floor they might be considered only if they make the space available to the public in some way. He offered Umpqua Bank as an example. The bank, an Oregon-based corporation, has office space on their ground floor, but they also host night-time community events, making the building an active public use space. Even if the demand for office use were high, Proposition M, passed in 1986, caps the amount of office space that can be approved every year.And on Mission Street., the city’s planning code specifically restricts ground floor storefronts to active commercial use. No offices are allowed, unless they submit a permit application and undergo an extensive review process.“You can’t just go out and rezone the city,” said Richards, when asked if the city would consider changing zoning restrictions to meet demand for office or residential use. “There’s a long process.”Vacant lot at Mission and 22nd streets. Photo by Daniel MondragónThe Storefront Vacancy Strategy sponsored by Mayor Breed and Supervisor Brown does not amend zoning restrictions, but it will attempt to revise parts of the city’s planning codes. The strategy will be enforced with new legislation, new programs, and administrative reforms, according to the mayor’s office.To enforce the new strategy, Mayor Breed and Supervisor Breed introduced an ordinance the day after the strategy was announced that would make amendments to the city’s planning code.Businesses seeking to apply for a Place of Entertainment Permit, for example, would need to file an application with the Entertainment Commission who would forward the application to other departments who need to approve the permit. As it stands now, business owners need to independently seek approval from each department, lengthening the permit process.Several realtors we spoke with also mentioned special interest groups in the Mission make it difficult for new businesses to enter the Mission.Aside from zoning restrictions, “all the other impediments tend to be rooted in local special interest groups that try to make it more difficult,” said a realtor who declined to be named, citing company policy.“You’ve got local groups that are harassing local tenants, telling them what they can and can’t do. It’s unfortunate,” said Kolovyansky.Neither would name the groups they had in mind or provide further details. Others see such pressure as necessary to prevent the Mission from being overrun with businesses that do not serve the community. For those already here, many fear their own businesses might be the next vacant storefront. They blame increasing rents, parking restrictions along Mission Street that many seem to hate, and a changing economy.At Latin Bridal, business owner Silvia Ferrusquia, said she used to rent a space a few blocks away at 2631 Mission. She has owned the wedding and quinceañera dress store for 28 years.Now at 2644 Mission, she said she’s on a month-to-month lease because the building owner refuses to let her sign a longer-term deal. The space next door is empty, and the owner wants to keep his selling options open. With so many vacant spaces, she worries about the future of the Mission.“En donde esta la identidad de la Misión?” she asked. “El barrio latino? El barrio chino?”She doesn’t know how much longer she can stay open for business. Email Addresslast_img read more

SAINTS and Dewsbury are set to play their stronges

first_imgSAINTS and Dewsbury are set to play their strongest squads possible when the two sides meet this Sunday.Keiron Cunningham has indicated he will go with his best side possible at the match – and that will include all four of the club’s new signings.The head coach said this week Jack Owens would be at fullback with Lama Tasi, Dominique Peyroux and Theo Fages all featuring in the clash.Glenn Morrison at the Rams will match-up similarly too as he fine tunes his squad ready for the Championship season.“I am confident about the ability of the squad,” Cunningham said. “We are 12 months more mature too and I’m sure we can do something this year.“We’ll continue our preparation for the campaign on Sunday. We will start with a strong team and then mix and match as the game progresses.“Fans will get to see the new signings and then, as the match goes on, some of the younger talent in the squad. Only injured players will be missing.”Morrison added: “We see it as a good experience for the players. It’s an opportunity to test themselves against a top side on their own patch.“We’ll be going down there as strong as we can in order for us to give ourselves the best chance possible of producing a good showing.“We still have eight senior players on the sidelines with injury, and they won’t be available, but I’ll name the strongest side I can for the game.”Tickets for the match, which kicks off at 3pm on Sunday January 17, are priced at just £10 (adult), £8 (concession and 16-21) and £5 (junior) in both the Hattons Solicitors West & Solarking South Stands.You can buy your tickets from the Ticket Office at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455 052 or online here.There will also be cash turnstiles on the day.last_img read more

Enjoy free family fun at Healthy Kids Day

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It’s time to get outside and get moving! Wilmington Parks and Recreation and the YMCA of Southeastern North Carolina have partnered up for Healthy Kids Day.This FREE family-friendly event is Saturday, April 28 at Emipe Park in Wilmington.- Advertisement – Kids of all ages can enjoy sports, obstacle courses, face painting, bouncy houses, Zumba and more!The day kicks off with a Fun Run at 9:30 a.m. and runs until 1 p.m.According to the event’s website, the live performance schedule is as follows:Related Article: Rescue takes in blind horse, its BFF donkey from Florence flood zone10 a.m. – Snipes Dribblers10:15 a.m. – G.I.R.L. Group10:30 a.m. – Zumba11 a.m. – Crossfit Reignited11:30 a.m. – ZumbaNoon – Ecological Marine AdventuresFor more information, click here.last_img read more

New gauge installed on Black River to help predict flood events

first_img Pender County says the gauges measure water levels to warn first responders and residents who live and work near flood-prone areas.The new gauge will join the more than 560 river and coastal gauges across the state. The Black River flooded parts of western Pender County on Oct. 11, 2016. (Photo: WWAY) PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Nearly two years after major flooding during Hurricane Matthew, people who live near the Black River in Pender County now have a better warning system in place to predict flooding.A new flood gauge, which provides real time data, has been installed in the river.- Advertisement – last_img

Pender County approves additional 600K for debris removal

first_img “Either you can get the trash removed, or you can resign for not doing your job,” yelled one man.At a county commission meeting, a contractor hired to remove debris estimated that 90 percent had already been removed.But the audience clearly did not agree, and argued that commissioners hadn’t approved debris removal on private dirt roads.Related Article: WARM discussed low-income home repair“A lot of those stories, and the heartfelt, and the pain they were feeling, they were able to get that off their chest,” said Daniel Blevins, who has been transporting supplies to those in need.After he and others addressed the commissioners, they agreed to do what people have been asking for, unanimously approving an additional $600,000 to remove debris from private dirt roads.“It was a standing ovation at the end of the vote. I think that says a lot about the people. They just want to move forward and this is a way for them to move forward,” said Blevins.Mathew Moore, who has lived in Pender County for five years, says he’s been amazed by the way the community has come together.“There was a lot of emotions for sure. It was a very emotional night for a lot of people.”Residents say there’s still more that needs to be done, like getting FEMA trailers.But most agree that this is a step in the right direction. BURGAW, NC (WWAY) —  Emotions were running high tonight at a Pender County commission meeting, where the main focus was storm debris removal.Pender County residents let their voices be heard Monday night, clearly frustrated with the way commissioners have handled Hurricane Florence recovery.- Advertisement – last_img read more

NCDOT announces when new Surf City bridge will open

first_imgSurf City Bridge (Photo: WWAY) SURF CITY, NC (WWAY) — It’s been in the works for years and now the new Surf City Bridge will officially open next week.North Carolina Department of Transportation announced a grand opening ceremony will take place Tuesday at 10 a.m. for the high-rise bridge.- Advertisement – NCDOT broke ground on the project back in October 2016. The $54 million bridge replaces the existing swing bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway on N.C. 50/210 in Surf City. At that time, the bridge was expected to be completed by November 2020.The new bridge has 65-foot vertical clearance that will not need to open for vessels in the waterway, eliminating vehicle and vessel traffic delays from the bridge opening and closing.last_img

Wilmington man pleads guilty to three home burglaries

first_img Around 3:00 a.m. on March 18, New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office responded to a break-in on Ashby Drive. The victim reported that he was asleep in his bedroom when two men broke into his home and kicked open his locked bedroom door. Once they saw the victim, they left the home stealing the owner’s TV. Investigators later found a cellphone in the yard that one of the suspects had dropped when running away.While detectives were on scene investigating the burglary, Graham and Marcquis Duren rode by the home acting suspiciously.Their vehicle was stopped, and deputies saw a large pry bar in the backseat as well as a jewelry box and coins. The jewelry and coins were from two other burglaries on nearby streets. The cellphone left in the yard was determined to be Graham.Related Article: New Hanover Government Center evacuated after emergency alert activatedSuperior Court Judge Kent Harrell sentenced Graham to at least five and half years in prison. Graham also pleaded guilty to a drug possession charge. Graham was ordered to pay restitution to the victims as part of work release and post release supervision.Graham’s prior convictions include Indecent Liberties with a Child, Felony Breaking and Entering, Felony Larceny, and Felony Drug Possession.Duren, who had no prior criminal record and was cooperative with law enforcement, pleaded guilty on December 13, 2018 to three counts of second degree burglary and three counts of felony larceny. He was sentenced to an 8-19 month active sentence followed by two consecutive 8-19 month suspended sentences, supervised probation, and to pay restitution to the victims. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington man is headed to prison for breaking in and stealing items from three homes in March 2018.Randy Graham, 29 of Wilmington, pleaded guilty in court Tuesday.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Carolina Beach town leaders support specific pigs as pets

first_imgCAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Town leaders in Carolina Beach saved the bacon by denying a change to the town’s animal laws.Town leaders had the request before them to ban Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs in town limits as pets. This came after a complaint was reported to the town code enforcement related to a pair of pigs. Town staff say this was an issue between a landlord and a tenant. The tenants had since moved from the home according to town staff.- Advertisement – Sandy Rundquist spoke before council to vouch for her pet pig Rudy, who she says is no nuisance to neighbors.“Excluding pigs is a drastic measure in my opinion for a one problem tenant, landlord situation,” said Rundquist. “A ban would only hurt people that have them here and care for them properly.”Council members like Steve Shuttleworth questioned why the issue made it before council, saying a text amendment to any ordinance should be based on more than one complaint.Related Article: Federal government cites NC exotic zoo over its animal careTown staff say the growing issue from the complaint was reported from code enforcement officers. They informed town staff that the pigs attracted flies and nuisance odors in the area around the home.Town council members denied the change in the end and said the issue should stay between landlords and tenants to resolve or if need be, animal control.last_img read more

LGBTQ supporters gather at UNCW for pride month and Stonewalls 50th anniversary

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — We’re about half way through pride month, and festivities are not slowing down in Wilmington.UNCW’s Kenan Auditorium’s Lawn filled up Sunday for a celebration of pride month and the approaching 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, which is known as the birth of the modern LGBT movement.- Advertisement – There was a picnic, party and performance by the local theater group, Mouths of Babes.Trey Morehouse is the MOB Theater director. He explained why this gathering means so much to the Wilmington LGBT community.“This means a gathering of people,” Morehouse explained. “This means a community, this means sharing, this means a safe space that’s what this means to me.”Related Article: Artists come together for Hooked on Arts street fairMorehouse invites the community to reach out to mob theater, for more information please visit their Facebook page.last_img read more

Update Missing man found safe

first_imgCarmel Spiteri, aged 74, was reported missing by the Police.He was seen yesterday, 5th April, at around 6pm at the Parish Church of Birżebbuġa. He was wearing a brown jacket, blue trousers, and a grey cap. Carmel also wears glasses.The Police Force announced that the man was found and is in a good state.The Police thanked everyone that helped in this search.WhatsApp <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> SharePrintlast_img

Catania airspace reopens as Etna volcanic activity subsides

first_img <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> SharePrint Activity at Catania airport resumed on Saturday morning after the eruption from the Etna volcano subsided and the ash in the area above cleared.The airspace above Catania and Comiso was closed due to the amount of ash in the air following an increase in the volcanic activity on the Etna.Corporate Dispatch reported the administration of Catania airport warning that there will most probably be delays as the airport catches up with the flights that were cancelled.The Malta International Airport website shows that Catania flights to and from Malta are not affected.Photo : Twitter – Boris Behnckecenter_img WhatsApplast_img read more

Analysis 20year old Linux is everywhere but invisible

first_imgAdvertisement When the then-21-year-old Turk got the logo etched into his left bicep in 2000, the penguin seemed poised to become mainstream, then appearing frequently in magazines and on the walls in computer stores. But the software market tumbled with the dot-com bust, and so too did the Linux brand, choked by investors’ swift rejection then of the open-source software movement.Thursday marks 20 years since Linus Torvalds announced on a Web bulletin board that he’d begun working on a free computer operating system. In that message, Torvalds described Linux as “just a hobby, won’t be big and professional.”Now, two decades later, that market breakthrough doesn’t seem any more attainable. And yet while the Linux name and its penguin mascot failed to go big, the software they embody is more pervasive today than ever. – Advertisement – Linux’s skeleton and spirit live on inside another familiar, adorable mascot: the green robot that represents Google’s Android operating system. That software, which powers 43% of smartphones worldwide, many tablets and the Google TV set-top boxes, was developed with Linux at its core. Google’s Chrome OS for laptops is also based on Linux.Another mobile system, webOS, sprouted from Linux. Hewlett-Packard says webOS, not the hardware that runs it, is a key asset from its acquisition last year of Palm. This month, HP took steps to discontinue its gadget production arm, but it will keep webOS. HP has discussed licensing the software to other vendors in order to expand webOS’s reach, perhaps into computing platforms on appliances and in cars.Linux is already commonly installed on refrigerators with built-in TVs, car navigation systems, in-flight entertainment systems, public transit displays, ATMs and countless other machines. The Smart TV from Samsung Electronics, which competes with the Google TV, is also based on Linux. Sony previously allowed tinkerers to install versions of Linux onto their PlayStation consoles.Whether you’re aware of it or not, Linux is practically everywhere.“The fact that you don’t have to call it Linux is what makes Linux work,” said Jim Zemlin, the executive director of the Linux Foundation. His nonprofit organization was formed to promote Linux development to the industry and sponsors Torvalds’ ongoing work on the platform.14 million lines of codeLinux can exist in so many places because, rather than being owned by one company, thousands of engineers contribute code to the kernel. (The kernel is the brains and sinew of the software, and Torvalds said in an e-mail that it’s the aspect of his work that he finds most interesting and that he spends most of his time developing.)No one can claim ownership of Linux, and everyone is free to use it. The software contains 14 million lines of code and is protected by more than 520,000 patents, according to a Linux Foundation report. Governments like the system’s flexibility and decentralized nature.Technology companies, even giants like Intel and AMD that typically don’t publish schematics for their other products, encourage staff to contribute to and implement code from Linux. Google has carried this philosophy into many parts of its business, though not the ones that make the most money. The company did not respond to a request to make an executive available.Torvalds initially conceived of Linux as a free alternative to Windows. But the collaborative-development, peace-loving ideologies of Linux were no match for the freewheeling, business-savvy, marketing power of Microsoft.Linux, as a PC platform in the home, showed promise during the boom a decade ago. But it never came to fruition there, even as Apple’s Mac has emerged as a more serious player.Instead, Linux became the bastion of geek morality, the king of the fast-growing server industry where Microsoft and Apple also compete with limited success, and the choice platform for supercomputers in laboratories.In Microsoft’s annual report filed last week to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the software giant revised its statement on competition to declare the war with Linux over. Microsoft no longer perceives Linux as credible competition to Windows, the change suggests, as ZDNet notes.A ‘sticky’ environmentHowever, Torvalds isn’t ready to forfeit the PC.“I’m definitely not indifferent to the desktop market,” Torvalds wrote in an e-mail. “The desktop is a very ‘sticky’ environment: Users really get attached to their environment.”Several Linux players are still tackling that market, but their efforts amount to only about 1% of desktop usage worldwide. Microsoft controls the lion’s share. Microsoft has been very adept at ensuring that Windows comes as the default operating system installed on most new computers.“Usage isn’t what matters; mindshare is what matters,” said Jono Bacon, a community manager for Ubuntu, the most popular general-purpose version of Linux. “The biggest challenge we face right now is getting preinstalled on hardware.”OpenSUSE, which makes another Linux desktop platform, and others have been choked by Microsoft’s “strong monopoly on the desktop,” said Alan Clark, an openSUSE director.“It’s played out differently than I expected, to be honest,” Clark said. “We made some progress, but nothing like anybody envisioned.”Yet, openSUSE has a comfortable presence in the server market, Clark said.“Linux is very much pervasive. It’s everywhere. You can’t even fly on an airplane; … you can’t use Facebook; you can’t buy a book from Amazon,” Clark said, “without running into Linux.”The cult of LinuxFamiliarity with Linux became a crucial skill for budding software engineers and server caretakers as far back as the mid-1990s.When David Bohnett sought a partner in his new Web venture called GeoCities, resulting in one of the largest Internet business deals ever when it went public and then was acquired by Yahoo for $3.6 billion in 1999, his main criteria was an adeptness with Linux programming, Bohnett said in an interview. John Rezner fit the description and shared in the pair’s eventual fortune.Torvalds, the brain behind Linux, never seemed very interested in fortunes, according to people who know him. The reclusive programming wizard declined through a spokeswoman to be interviewed by phone, though he talked openly through e-mail and appeared on stage last week at LinuxCon in Vancouver, Canada.There, Torvalds was treated like a celebrity. A lover of reclusive scientists, including Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, he described the general reactions from Linux fans as “just odd.” He wrote: “Sometimes it does get to be a bit overwhelming.”Clark, from openSUSE, described a memorable meeting with Torvalds.“The first time he came to Japan, seriously, it was like a rock star arrived, and I could kind of tell it was really overwhelming for him,” Clark said. “He took it in stride.”The Linux faithful are predominantly male, often nerdy, with strong principles about collaborative development that translate to a belief in a less hierarchal, more cooperative society, according to interviews. For example, Ubuntu’s Bacon has an Android phone, which uses Google’s open-source software, because “the ethical side of me feels like it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “It’s not just a product. It’s an ethos.”Apple has tried to define its principles in advertising: artistic, noncorporate and able to “think different.” Its brand has been adopted by millions of people.Meanwhile, Linux has maintained a devout but small following over the last two decades. The Linux software is embedded in many millions of machines, but its ethos and the penguin logo that embodies it remain an underground movement.To let Turk explain it, because he’d be more than happy to, his tattoo is like a secret handshake, waiting for someone to be able to recognize and reciprocate.“Every so often, at the gym or something, I’ll run into someone who’s like, ‘That’s the Linux tattoo,’ and there’s a conversation,” said Turk, who now works for open-source software maker Talend. “It’s always been something that the community feels like it owns. It’s almost a little bit anti-establishment. The penguin doesn’t stand a chance against the marketing of big firms. But that’s great. It’s good. It’s ours.”Source: CNN, Editing by Albert Mucunguzilast_img read more

Indian delegation seeks African ICT investments

first_imgAdvertisement .The NASSCOM delegation said in a statement that the visit is part Global Trade Development Initiative to explore new geographies for its members.According to the NASSCOM official statement, “Nigeria is the second biggest economy in Africa and is the largest in terms of its population and opportunity. Ghana offers the most suitable investment climate in the region and is often referred to as the Gateway to West Africa.The emphasis of the NASSCOM delegation would be on creating awareness among the local companies about India, identifying potential companies for partnership and building a long-term engagement program.” – Advertisement – The group, which is one of the India’s leading ICT trade-working groups, has more than 1200 members, from India and foreign investors.The delegation is also expected to visit Kenya. The group called the Kenyan ICT market as the most aggressive technology economy in East Africa with the government being proactive and willing to invest in the sector.Source: itnewsafricalast_img read more

Four African girls create a peepowered generator

first_img14-year-olds Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola, Faleke Oluwatoyin, and 15-year-old Bello Eniola have created a urine powered generator Advertisement What have you built lately? 14-year-olds Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola, Faleke Oluwatoyin, and 15-year-old Bello Eniola have created a urine powered generator.All over Africa, young men and women have missioned across the country and arrived in Lagos, Nigeria. All they want to do is show off what they have made. Maker Faire Africa is more than your typical startup event: it actually shows off innovations, inventions, and initiatives that solve immediate challenges and problems, and then works to support and propagate them. Put another way, this isn’t just a bunch of rich people talking about how their apps are going to change the world.These four girls may not end up doing that either, but their efforts definitely stand more of a chance than yet another hyper local social cloud app. Their efforts should not go unnoticed, because if this is what they’re doing as teenagers, I really hope they have the funding they need to be revolutionizing lives when they’re adults. – Advertisement – Here’s how it works:Urine is put into an electrolytic cell, which cracks the urea into nitrogen, water, and hydrogen.The hydrogen goes into a water filter for purification, which then gets pushed into the gas cylinder.The gas cylinder pushes hydrogen into a cylinder of liquid borax, which is used to remove the moisture from the hydrogen gas.This purified hydrogen gas is pushed into the generator.1 Liter of urine gives you 6 hours of electricity.If this doesn’t motivate you to go out and start thinking about how you can really make an impact, then I don’t know what will. If urine isn’t your cup of tea, then I recommend you go and read Paul Graham’s essayFrighteningly Ambitious Startup Ideas. In particular, pay attention to number three and number seven. Everyone else, go back to trying to figure out if you should target Android, iOS, or both.Image credit: David Latlast_img read more

Google Gives Gmail a Brand New Inbox

first_imgAdvertisement As rumored earlier this week, the Gmail inbox is getting a new look on the desktop, iOS and Android.The new inbox matches leaked screenshots that appeared at the end of last week and it shows off a look that is more about helping users organize their inbox into categories with horizontal tabs, versus a vertical list of labels.Clicking on one of the tabs will show all the messages from that view. Users can also customize the new tabs to always show certain senders in a particular tab or for starred messages to always appear in the primary tab. – Advertisement – On the mobile side, iOS and Android apps will also now offer users easy access to preset Smart Labels for categories such as social, promotions and updates.Google announced the new look on its Gmail blog and says that it will be rolling out the update “gradually” on the desktop. Updates for iOS and Android will be available in the next few weeks. Users that don’t want the new look on the desktop can switch back to the classic view.“On the desktop, the new inbox groups your mail into categories which appear as different tabs. You simply choose which categories you want and voilà! Your inbox is organized in a way that lets you see what’s new at a glance and decide which emails you want to read when,” wrote Itamar Gilad, Gmail’s Product ManagerGoogle says that if you want to get the new inbox sooner, watch for a “Configure Inbox” setting to hit the gear menu icon in Gmail.Here’s the look of the new Gmail app for iPhone. AND here’s the look of the new Gmail app for Android.last_img read more

Google Celebrated William Shakespeare and St Georges Day 2016 With Doodles

first_imgCelebrating William Shakespeare and St. George’s Day 2016. Image Credit: Google Advertisement Google Inc. marked the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death with a doodle on Saturday that featured some of bard’s most well-known works.According to Mashable, in the UK, the doodle reflected both Shakespeare and St. George’s Day, the day that commemorates the patron saint of England, who is known for slaying a dragon.A creative tour de force, William Shakespeare officially wrote 38 plays in his 52 years, some of which you can spot in Doodle. – Advertisement – Over the past four centuries, Shakespeare’s poems, plays and other works have taken on a life of their own on the page, stage and screen. You can explore some of his works and those he has has inspired in the Shakespeare gallery of Google’s Cultural Institute.last_img read more

Parliament Agrees to Tax Social Media Effective July 1st

first_imgUsing snapchat. (Photo Credit: Advertisement Back in March this year, H.E the President of Uganda; Yoweri K. Museveni proposed that social media should be taxed, and in a letter he wrote to Finance Minister Hon. Kasaija Matia insisted that the revenue collected would help the country cope with consequences of gossiping.After a month and half of debates, criticism, controversy, the Parliament of Uganda on Thursday passed the Excise Duty (Amendment) Bill, 2018 with amendments. This approves the President’s proposed Social media tax – which will be a UGX200 daily levied on every mobile phone subscriber, and a 1% tax fee on Mobile Money transactions. The is said to come into effect on July 1st, 2018.The said social media platforms to be taxed include; Whatsapp, Twitter, and Facebook. – Advertisement – Whereas this might cause controversy, the President argued that the new bill would reduced on the social media gossip, and unseriousness in the way taxes are being collected. He further stated the revenue collected would help cope up with the country.BBC’s Catherine Byaruhanga reported that experts and at least one major internet service provider (not named) have raised doubts about how a daily tax on social media will be implemented.State Minister for Finance Hon. Ajedra Gabriel Gadison Aridru told parliament that the tax increases were needed to help Uganda pay off its growing national debt.Opposition in parliament waved this move as an infringement on the freedom of expression and called it a move by Museveni to stifle opposition to his presidency.[related-posts]Related, all transactions on Mobile Money will also attract a one percent tax levy on the total value of the transaction, something that could prove detrimental to the efforts to improving financial inclusion in the country, especially among low-income earners.last_img read more


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