Month: July 2019

Disabled people have been failed by the government

first_imgDisabled people have been failed by the government’s inability to manage the assessments for disability benefits that are carried out by outsourcing giants Atos Maximus and Capita, according to the chair of an influential committee of MPs.Labour MP Meg Hillier, who chairs the Commons public accounts committee, spoke out after a damning report by the public spending watchdog, which found spending on assessments was set to double in just two years while the three companies were failing to meet the required standards.The assessments help determine eligibility for employment and support allowance (ESA) and personal independence payment (PIP), and also aim to support people on sick leave back into work as part of the new Fit for Work service.But the National Audit Office (NAO) said the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) had failed to achieve value for money from the health and disability assessments it had contracted out to Atos, Maximus and Capita.In 2014-15, DWP spent about £275 million on assessment contracts, but this is expected to more than double to £579 million by 2016-17.Between April 2015 and March 2018, DWP expects the three companies to carry out about seven million assessments, at an estimated cost of £1.6 billion.It also expects the contractors will increase the number of healthcare professionals they employ by more than 80 per cent, from 2,200 in May 2015 to 4,050 in November 2016.NAO said the cost of the assessments was rising and Atos, Capita and Maximus were “still struggling to meet expected performance standards”.It points in the report to DWP’s contract with Maximus, which took over the provision of ESA assessments from Atos in March 2015.Under the contract, the government expects to pay Maximus £595 million over three years for 3.4 million assessments, at a cost of about £190 per assessment, compared with £115 per assessment under the previous contract with Atos – an increase of 65 per cent.DWP has told NAO that the increase in cost is partly due to Maximus carrying out a higher proportion of face-to-face assessments than Atos, and paying higher salaries for healthcare professionals.The estimated cost of hiring and training a London-based nurse to carry out ESA assessments has increased from an average £26,000 in spring 2014 under the Atos contract to £44,000 for a London-based nurse in 2015-16 under Maximus.The report also says that despite Atos and Capita now taking an average of four weeks to process a PIP assessment, compared to 29 weeks in mid-2014, and Maximus taking 23 weeks for an ESA assessment (compared to 29 weeks previously), by last August there was still a backlog of at least 280,000 ESA assessments.NAO also warned that Maximus was “not on track to complete the expected number of assessments” for 2015-16 – DWP set a target of nearly one million ESA assessments – and “has missed assessment report quality targets since the start of the contract”.It said that both Atos and Capita have failed to meet PIP assessment report quality targets since October 2013.NAO said DWP had expanded its performance management team and managed the transition between ESA providers “smoothly”, after Atos requested an early exit from its contract.Amyas Morse, NAOs, said DWP had “addressed some of its immediate operational issues” in managing the assessments but “now needs to take action to break a perpetuating cycle of optimistic targets, contractual underperformance and costly recovery”.He added: “The department is paying more for assessments, but providers are still not meeting expected performance levels. “The department needs providers to complete the planned number of assessments so that it can achieve the significant benefit savings it expects to make over the next few years.”NAO called on DWP to “develop an overall commercial strategy for assessments, set challenging realistic targets for providers and engage with providers to learn from previous experience”.Hillier said: “The department’s approach has been unclear, its targets untested and consistently missed and future delivery is under threat.“With the annual cost of assessments now expected to rise to a staggering £579 million in 2016-17, taxpayers have been left to foot the bill.”She added: “Contracting out the delivery of public services does not absolve the department from its responsibilities to ensure that taxpayers’ money is well-spent.“The department needs to do more to ensure private providers deliver a better deal for sick and disabled people, as assessments have a huge impact on their ability to access vital cash to live with dignity.”last_img read more

WouldBe Fire at Boogaloos Leaves No Damage Updated

first_img“I think it was just some smoke, and [a fire] was certainly averted,” she said.William McLeod, a photographer who lives nearby and who had his office in the building destroyed in the 22nd and Mission streets fire in January, wrote that there were “several firetrucks, firemen on the roof,” and “a slight smell in the air.”It was “definitely a strange sight to see on 22nd street, just down the block from the Mission Market building,” that went up in flames on the evening of January 28th, he wrote.But by Monday morning the restaurant was open to customers again, and Blair Brandeis said the only real damage was to the front door when firefighters broke through. She also alluded to recent rent increases that have left the restaurant’s future uncertain. Last month it was feared Boogaloos would shutter its doors as early as September, though it plans to stay open at least through December.“We’re having our share of bad luck aren’t we?”Firemen spraying the smoldering rags. Photo by William McLeodPhoto by William McLeodPhoto by William McLeodPhoto by William McLeodPhoto by William McLeodPhoto by William McLeod.Photo by William McLeod A pseudo-fire broke out Sunday night around 10 p.m. at Boogaloos on the corner of 22nd and Valencia streets due to rags that “spontaneously combusted” but were doused before flaring up.“I wouldn’t say it was really a fire,” said Mindy Talmadge, a spokesperson for the fire department. “It was actually a bag of rags that were soaked with chemicals that spontaneously combusted.”Talmadge explained that the chemical-soaked rags “were caught at the smoldering stage” and quickly put out before a true fire could erupt, and that the structure sustained no damage due to the rags.Carolyn Blair Brandeis, a co-owner of the neighborhood diner, thought the fire was due to “some towels with grease” that produced some smoke but no fire. Tags: Fires • sf • valencia street Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%center_img 0%last_img read more

SAINTS got the defence of their Super League title

first_imgSAINTS got the defence of their Super League title underway with a solid 18-7 win over Catalans at a freezing Langtree Park.A stop-start encounter saw two men sinbinned and Keiron Cunningham’s men turning round a half time deficit to come on top in a real war of attrition.Atelea Vea was huge on the edges whilst the pack stood up to everything the Dragons threw at them.Alongside the former London Bronco, Travis Burns also made his debut whilst Joe Greenwood’s strong pre-season was rewarded with a starting spot.Catalans also named a formidable side – but had Todd Carney missing with a groin problem.With each team’s flags on the field and thunderstruck on the PA, the match had that big game feel.And with the crowd roaring Catalans kicked off, Alex Walmsley took the ball in and Willie Tonga ended up out cold on the floor after attempting the tackle.He seemed to hit the big prop’s knee as he went for the hit and it was sad to see him carried off the field on a stretcher looking in really bad shape.After the stoppage the game understandably took a while to get going. Joe Greenwood almost broke through in the fourth minute but Jordan Turner just couldn’t find a gap.But a minute later, a high ball went up into the Saints’ in-goal area and Zeb Taia snaffled it up. The Dragons celebrated but the video referee pulled it back for a knock on.Saints heeded the warning and on their next attack they scored.A couple of penalties got them up the field, the ball came right at pace and Vea showed all his strength to plunge over.Makinson with the extras.Saints forced a drop out on 10 minutes and then had further chances to stretch their advantage to no avail.And on the 24th minute a wonderful break that involved a kick from Makinson, Burns offloading to Lomax and the ball being flipped out of the back door wasn’t punished too – Percival stripped as he went for the line.Saints defended three drop outs and a set right on their line to preserve the advantage and then had another to stop after a rare Lomax error.But in the same sequence the referee penalised Saints three times – the latter coming bizarrely after Lomax took the ball clean in the in-goal area – and then sin binned Greg Richards for a ball steal that looked all the world like a knock on.Pelissier burrowed over to level it up – finally taking advantage of all that pressure – and Bosc put the Dragons ahead with a one pointer as the hooter sounded.Saints began the second half a man down but in Catalonian territory after two penalties – and they made it count.Makinson was hit with a shoulder as he went for the corner and from the tap penalty, the ball swept left and Turner put them back in front.On 47 minutes, Pelissier had one chalked off for a knock on – a massive let off for Saints who were caught napping on their own line.Swift then one disallowed off that looked all the world try on the screen.But the defence eventually did crack.A superb break from Turner saw Lomax through and on his way to the line. He was tackled by Michael Oldfield but the winger refused to let him play the ball.He got ten minutes in the bin for his indiscretion and Andre Savelio showed his power to put Saints in charge.Makinson missed the kick but it was a blow that Catalan never really recovered from.Roby smashed his way through the Catalan rearguard in the final five minutes and Makinson duly finished his teammate’s fantastic work.Mose and Elima got it on in the final seconds and that underlined what a tough physical battle it was all night.Match Summary:Saints: Tries: Vea, Turner, Savelio, MakinsonGoals: Makinson (1 from 3), Percival (0 from 1)Dragons:Tries: Pelissier Goals: Bosc (1 from 1)Drop: Bosc Penalties: Saints: 8Dragons: 11HT: 6-7FT: 18-7REF: Phil BenthamATT: 12,008Teams:Saints:1. Jonny Lomax; 2. Thomas Makinson, 3. Jordan Turner, 17. Mark Percival, 5. Adam Swift; 6. Travis Burns, 12. Jon Wilkin; 10. Kyle Amor, 9. James Roby, 14. Alex Walmsley, 21. Joe Greenwood, 11. Atelea Vea, 4. Josh Jones.Subs: 8. Mose Masoe, 16. Lance Hohaia, 19. Greg Richards, 25. Andre Savelio.Dragons:1. Morgan Escaré; 2. Vincent Duport, 3. Ben Pomeroy, 4. Willie Tonga, 5. Michael Oldfield; 14. Thomas Bosc, 9. Ian Henderson; 15. Jeff Lima, 16. Eloi Pelissier, 10. Rémi Casty, 11. Zeb Taia, 17. Elliott Whitehead, 12. Louis Anderson.Subs: 8. Olivier Elima, 13. Gregory Mounis, 18. Benjamin Garcia, 21. Julian Bousquet.last_img read more

Dosher Foundation receives 100K digital imaging grant

first_img The grant was from The Cannon Foundation, a private foundation focused on health care, higher  education, and human services across North Carolina. Posing (left to right) with a check from The Cannon Foundation are Dosher Diagnostic Imaging employees Ashley Rauth and Jennifer Pittman, Dosher Foundation members Joyce John, Melody Ryan, Barbara Boland, Beth Nelson and Clay Fairley, Dosher Foundation President Lynda Stanley, Foundation members Rebecca Green and Mark Bachara, Dosher Hospital President & CEO Tom Siemers, and Dosher Foundation members Craig Chancellor, Robert Howard, Adam Powell, Jeri Robinson, and Russ Thompson. SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — The Dosher Memorial Hospital Foundation has received a $100,000 grant that will help fund digital x-ray equipment at the hospital.The new radiologic equipment is designed to capture and render a digital image in about five seconds, greatly increasing efficiency over current equipment which can take several minutes. While they say the exposure is already low, the new equipment will expose patients to even lower doses of radiation. Also, they say the new images delivered to radiologists will be higher quality than is possible at present.- Advertisement – last_img read more

West Brunswick sophomore charged after fight and social media threat

first_imgBRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A West Brunswick High School student faces charges after a fight at school and a post on Snapchat.Sophomore Kavon Kenith Gause is charged with simple affray and communicating threats.- Advertisement – According to arrest warrants, Gause assaulted the victim by ‘hitting the victim about the body.’Warrants also state Gause threatened to physically injure the victim by posting a message on Snapchat that said ‘(expletive) West’ with guns and coffins.“The safety of students and staff are the top priority of school leaders and law enforcement officials,” Brunswick County schools said in a news release. “While staff and school resources officers remain vigilant, the school day and events scheduled for homecoming this evening are continuing as scheduled.”Related Article: Lost man found safe in wooded area thanks to Project LifesaverGause is in jail under a $41,000 bond.last_img read more

Two face murder charges 20 years after child abuse conviction in Brunswick

first_img According to trial records, on April 12, 1997, EMS took Noffsinger’s 15-month-old child, David Cody Rhinehart to the emergency room.The EMS technician noticed bruises on the child and saw he was barely breathing.An emergency room doctor noticed the child had a head fracture, bruises, deformity on an arm and a leg, burns in the diaper region and the child was having seizures.Related Article: Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office warns of phone scamThe child was transported to Duke Medical Center for surgery to relieve pressure on the brain.A pediatrician at Duke testified during the trial that the child was in critical condition, comatose, and had been placed on life support. The pediatrician also believed the burns in the diaper region was caused by being immersed in a hot liquid.X-rays also showed spinal fractures and fractures in the legs and left arm and wrist. While draining fluid from the child’s brain saved his life, the head injury caused brain damage such  that only the brain stem remained normal. According to the pediatrician, the child would be extremely impaired.During an interview with investigators, Tripp, Noffsinger’s boyfriend at the time, admitted he gave the child a bath and that the water may have been too hot, resulting in the burns.Tripp pleaded guilty to the four counts of felony child abuse pursuant to an Alford plea.According to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety website, Noffsinger was convicted of child abuse on July, 29 1998. Noffsinger spent about two years in prison.Tripp was convicted of child abuse on July 30, 1998. Tripp was also convicted of indecent liberties with a child on December 2, 1998. Tripp spent about six and a half years in prison.The child’s name was changed to David Stuart. He died in March after his adoptive parents took care of him for years.“I want to thank the mothers of this child that adopted this child many years ago and provided probably the best life that he could have had an we just want to say thank you,” Brunswick County Chief Deputy Charlie Miller said.David Stuart (Photo: GoFundMe)The Assistant District Attorney says the medical examiner believes the injuries the victim suffered lead to his death.District Attorney Jon David said the two did not know they were going to be arrested.“I’m sure it’s an emotional time in “I’m sure it’s an emotional time in their life and I will tell you that, although they’ve been prosecuted for this case before, it’s our intention to hold them to the maximum punishment allowable by law, given the gravity of this case,” David said.The State is debating whether to seek the death penalty.Noffsinger and Tripp both appeared in court this morning. Their bonds are set at $1 million each. Their next court date is June 6. BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) –Two people are facing murder charges stemming from a child abuse case that happened more than 20 years ago.David Raeford Tripp Jr., 45, and Robyn Lynn Noffsinger, 41, are at the Brunswick County Detention Center facing $1 million bonds.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Activists float dialogue over hog farm nuisance lawsuits

first_img The NC Environmental Justice Network’s Naeema Muhammad says the company pits farmers who raise its hogs under contract against people living nearby. She says neighbors just want to escape the stench of open-air waste pits while farmers want to protect the lifestyle they’ve built.Jurors on Friday hit Smithfield Foods with a $473 million verdict over how Pender County farms operated. Juries in two earlier cases awarded more than $75 million.___Related Article: Duplin County grandmother wins $1 million in scratch-off ticketInformation from: The Herald-Sun, Pig farm (Photo: US EPA) WARSAW, N.C. (AP) — Activists in the heart of North Carolina’s pork country say contract hog farmers and their neighbors should start talking about solutions.The Herald-Sun of Durham reported that community organizers in Duplin County called for dialogue Saturday after a federal jury again decided pork giant Smithfield Foods is responsible for millions in damages linked to industrial-scale hog operations.- Advertisement – last_img read more

How many youths are going to be conferred with confirmation this June

first_img SharePrint <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> A number of youths in Malta shall be conferred with the sacrament of confirmation this June. This confirmation shall be conferred by the Archbishop of Malta, Charles Scicluna.Archbishop Charles Scicluna shall confer the sacrament of confirmation in a number of parishes around Malta. The conferment of confirmation shall take place on the following days:Friday 7th June at 6.30pm: Parish Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, San Ġwann.Saturday 8th June at 10.00am: Parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother of the Church in IbragSaturday 8th June at 6.00pm: Holy Family Parish, Iklin.Sunday 9th June at 9.15 am: Valletta Parishes and the Parish of Jesus of Nazareth, Sliema.Sunday 9th June at 5.30pm: The Sanctuary of Divine Mercy, Naxxar.WhatsApplast_img read more

111 OffRoad Racing team finishes 9th at King of France 2019

first_imgLast weekend, the 111 Off-Road Racing Team composed of Rudy Farrugia as driver and Malcolm Paul Gauci as navigator helped by Maurice Farrugia, Mark Zahra, David Farrugia, Daniel Grupetta, Stefan Borg Grech, Lana Debono and Shaun Caruana competed against 21 competitors from all over the world at the King of France 2019 Ultra 4 Europe Event.During the qualifying round on Friday, following damage to driveline, exhaust, rear suspension, and many repairs, they did not finish the race. They had to abandon the race only a few metres away from the finish line and ended in the 21st place.On Saturday the team had to start from the last place, following the traffic on a tight course. Notwithstanding damaged suspension, the 111 off-road racing team was still fast and coped well with the competition. Following another accident, the buggy ended up upside down in a bunch of trees in a ditch but sustained no damage. With damage from Friday and the accident on Saturday, they still finished in 10th place from the 21.Sunday was an event-free day; the team raced fast and clean, gained another position finishing the event in 9th place overall.The 111 Off-Road Racing Team is set to compete in the Ultra 4 Europe Championship hence their next appointment is the King of Britain at the 20th of July.WhatsApp SharePrint <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=a7617b59&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more

Nigerias lowcost tablet computer

first_imgAdvertisement He is also hoping to sell his tablet – which runs on the Google Android operating system – to the Nigerian government and plans to have at least one computer in each local government area.“The Inye is a mobile internet device. It gives you access to the internet; it allows you to play media files and watch movies. What we have is an 8-inch device, a device that is half-way between a laptop and a mobile phone,” he told the BBC’s series African Dream.“You have the standard software applications that come pre-installed and then you have the ones that we are working with various local developers to bundle on,” he added. – Advertisement – Among those local apps there is one designed to raise awareness about HIV and others related to water and sanitation.“We work with local developers that have expertise in particular areas so that we don’t end up doing so much work and we just have a collaborative way of doing things together,” he said.The first 100 units of the Inye, which means One in Nigeria’s Igala language, were built in China and, after receiving feedback from its users, a second version was launched in May 2011.Encipher Group, the company he cofounded with web developer Anibe Agamah, also offers customised IT services and products, including cloud computing, which are mostly based on open technology to keep costs down.Raising capitalAccording to Mr Adepoju, the company and the apps it develops are focused on preserving local culture through technology and making products which are specific to the local market.Another product that the firm has been working on is Encipher TV, a box where people can watch African television, plays and films.However, he says that it has not been easy to raise capital in order to develop the business faster. “Here venture capital (VC) is still in its infancy and most VC firms wound want to invest in tried and trusted companies that have gained some form of traction,” he said.“We face the challenge of getting people to listen to the various propositions. We’ve been to a number of private investors and also to the government,” he explained.Not surprisingly, his immediate plan is to “try and raise capital from whatever sources we can get – locally, internationally or privately – and to try and still to push the brand forward as much as we can”.Will his tablet computer succeed in such a competitive environment? Only time will tell but Mr Adepoju and his colleagues are adamant that it will, not only in Nigeria but also in other African markets.Source: BBClast_img read more