A minister has been urged to resign after he thre

first_imgA minister has been urged to resign, after he threatened a traumatised child abuse survivor – who is waiting to give evidence about the abuse in court – that his benefits would be stopped if he failed to co-operate with an Atos reassessment.David* is a key witness in the trial and has been told by police not to discuss his case with anyone, or to allow DWP or its assessment contractor Atos access to his medical records, because the court proceedings are now live and the case is sub judice.The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) finally agreed earlier this month to stop contacting David until after the end of the trial, after Disability News Service (DNS) and his local MP drew its attention to his case.But despite this agreement, Atos sent him a further letter, while Justin Tomlinson (pictured) – the minister for disabled people – wrote to his MP threatening that David’s benefits would be stopped within just two days if he did not submit to a reassessment of his personal independence payment (PIP) claim.David has severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), caused by the horrific child abuse he suffered as a child, and which has led to several suicide attempts.Even though the toll of the criminal investigation on his mental health has been harrowing, resulting in a series of self-harm episodes, DWP has continued its attempts to force him to submit to a PIP reassessment, even though it has been told repeatedly that his health records are part of the court case.David only found out about Tomlinson’s threat this week, when the minister’s letter was forwarded to him by his MP.In a covering letter, David’s MP told him: “I do not normally comment on ministerial responses, as they are quite capable of speaking for themselves, but I will say that in this case I feel Justin displays a lack of humanity and understanding that does himself and you a great disservice.”David said Tomlinson’s behaviour was “a disgusting, vile attack” on a vulnerable witness by a government minister, and called on him to resign.He said Tomlinson “should not be anywhere near” vulnerable disabled people after his “insensitive, demeaning” actions, and added: “I wouldn’t put this guy in charge of a broom cupboard.”David had already forced an apology from DWP after he received a letter last week – which apparently was “generated by Atos in error” – warning him the contractor had requested evidence from people involved in his care, and that he may have to attend a face-to-face benefits assessment.Both letters – from Tomlinson and from Atos – were sent several days after DWP and Atos agreed that there should be no further contact with David until his trial was finished.DNS has already revealed that DWP contacted the police force investigating the abuse allegations to ask about his evidence, and had to be told twice by officers that its actions were causing David “considerable stress and distress”, that he was a witness in their investigation, and that details of his abuse-related health condition were sub-judice.The force is not commenting on these claims – while Tomlinson has denied any DWP contact with the police – but DNS has established that there have been several communications between DWP and the force, whose officers have continued to tell the department that it cannot release information about the case.David’s treatment throws a harsh light yet again on DWP policies and procedures for dealing with vulnerable people, an issue highlighted last month when the department was finally forced to publish redacted versions of 49 secret “peer reviews” into the deaths of benefit claimants.Those peer reviews showed that ministers were repeatedly warned by their own civil servants that their policies to assess people for disability benefits were putting the lives of vulnerable claimants at risk.David’s MP had written to work and pensions secretary Stephen Crabb to ask him to review how his department had treated him, and it was that letter that Tomlinson was responding to.The MP said in the letter that he/she believed DWP had failed in its duty of care towards David.The letter added: “Sometimes intentionally, sometimes because of mistakes, errors or miscommunication within DWP they have continuously harassed him, reviewing his case unnecessarily, suspending benefits on a number of occasions, seeking details or interviews which could prejudice the criminal case and have in any case contributed to high levels of anxiety and distress being suffered by [David].“Whilst I am only aware of [David’s] experience I would be surprised if others had not suffered similar treatment.”The MP also asked Crabb to ensure that David continued to receive PIP and be exempt from any further medical assessments until after the trial.David, who is currently recovering from an operation, said his treatment at the hands of DWP and Atos had been “dehumanising and humiliating”, a “grotesque breach” of his privacy, and “the most outrageously obscene way to treat someone”.He refused to accept DWP’s apology about the Atos letter, and noted that the department had apologised via DNS, and not to him, and that he wanted an apology from a work and pensions minister, rather than a press officer.David also said he had no idea whether his PIP and his employment and support allowance (ESA) were still being paid, and that he was “fearful of contacting them over this”.He was appalled when, a day after a DWP press officer confirmed to DNS that he was still receiving PIP and ESA, he received a payment into his bank account that suggested that he was no longer receiving ESA and had instead been placed on jobseeker’s allowance.He then received a call yesterday (Wednesday) from a GP from his local surgery, apparently attempting to assess his state of mental health over the telephone on behalf of DWP.A DWP spokesman claimed that Tomlinson had been trying to underline in his letter that David needed to be reassessed, although he was also “trying to communicate in every way possible… that we were going to try and leave [David] alone and not contact him, in acknowledgement of the fact that he is a vulnerable person and he is going through a trial”.  When asked why DWP and Tomlinson appeared intent on harassing and persecuting David, the spokesman said: “In no way is this persecution, in no way are we trying to hound [David].“What we are trying to do is follow what we have to do with PIP, which is assess people so we can make sure they are getting the benefits that they need to be getting.”He said in a statement: “In the minister’s letter he says that wherever possible in these situations PIP reassessments can be carried out in consultation with the patient’s GP and using other medical evidence provided.“However, if there is not enough information available, a face-to-face assessment needs to take place.“The assessment process is key to ensuring that the benefit is fairly distributed, so that it can fulfil its purpose of supporting people who have extra living costs due to their disability.”He added: “When a claimant states that they do not wish to be contacted about their case or reassessment, they are advised that wherever possible we will do this in discussion with their GP without their involvement. This is always made clear to the claimant.”But David said he believed his life was now at risk as a result of Tomlinson’s actions and those of his department, while he felt that he had been “utterly abandoned to this vindictive violation of my human rights”.He said: “Every day is a struggle to live, robbed wholly of my dignity by the criminal process and further humiliated by the DWP’s utter inhumanity and failure to grasp my harsh predicament.“The original PIP assessment indicated that I required additional support. I don’t currently receive any support from any service and life’s bleak.“It’s not simply a question of money, but of life, living in guilt and fear, struggling with the horrors of childhood, and its impact upon one’s working life.“I do not accept their apology, and thus again seek further discussion as to why they treated me in this manner and how they will assure me of my welfare.”He is hoping that Crabb will agree to meet him to discuss his treatment.He added: “In the Irish Republic they have a small government agency that specifically assists abuse survivors. Here we are alone and it’s not acceptable.“My human rights were violated as a child and since. Both government and wider society need to stop, listen and act accordingly.”An Atos spokeswoman said: “We apologise for any distress caused; the letter referred to was sent in error.”A DWP spokesman said this morning (Thursday) that the review of David’s PIP claim had begun in June 2015 but the department had “made a special decision” to delay his reassessment for a year.He said that procedures had been followed for cases in which a vulnerable claimant had failed to return their PIP2 claim form, and that Atos had contacted one of David’s GPs to gather information about his claim in an attempt to see if it was possible to carry out a paper-based assessment of his PIP eligibility.DWP said David’s entitlement to PIP ended on 16 June and he would receive his last payment on 30 June. He said that David was still receiving ESA.The spokesman added: “In summary [David] is still being reassessed for PIP and the department are accommodating him under additional support procedures.“In order to continue to receive PIP he must be reassessed.“This reassessment is in progress and may not require any contact with [David].“We are awaiting evidence from his GP, and once we receive it we will be able to judge if it provides enough information for a paper-based decision to be made.”Despite promising to do so, the spokesman failed to respond to concerns about Tomlinson’s apparent harassment of a vulnerable benefit claimant, and why DWP was refusing to exempt David from the reassessment process until the end of the trial.*Not his real namelast_img read more

The former civil servant commissioned by the gover

first_imgThe former civil servant commissioned by the government to review its new disability benefit has refused to accept there is any dishonesty among the healthcare professionals who carry out assessments, despite being shown significant evidence of wrongdoing.Disability News Service (DNS) has twice contacted Paul Gray’s personal independence payment (PIP) review team with evidence collected during a lengthy investigation into allegations of widespread dishonesty by assessors working for the outsourcing giants Capita and Atos.But in his second and final review of PIP for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), published seven days ago, Gray dismisses any suggestions of dishonesty.Although he says in the review that some claimants “assert that the Health Professional has misinterpreted or even deliberately misrepresented what was discussed during the assessment”, he says there could be several explanations for this other than dishonesty.He suggests instead that PIP claimants may hold these beliefs because the assessor: failed to mention evidence they had provided, made “inappropriate assumptions” about the impact of their condition, or “may genuinely have made an error when transcribing their notes”.In early February, DNS passed on detailed evidence to Gray’s review team, which included excerpts from more than 40 cases in which PIP claimants had alleged clear dishonesty by healthcare assessors in the way they had written their assessment reports.The claimants spoke repeatedly of dishonesty, “fraudulent conduct” and “lie after lie after lie” told by assessors in their reports, on which DWP decision-makers based their decisions on their eligibility for PIP.DNS then contacted the review team two weeks later, with further evidence of widespread wrongdoing, including a news story which described how the investigation had by that time collected more than 100 cases of alleged dishonesty.None of that information has been included in Gray’s review.The position taken by Gray, who also chairs DWP’s benefits advice body, the social security advisory committee, mirrors that of the department itself, which has consistently stated that it does not believe there has been any dishonesty by its assessors.Asked by DNS about the dismissal of any suggestions of dishonesty, Gray said in a statement that the review’s role was “to make an assessment of how PIP assessments as a whole are operating, not to investigate individual cases or complaints.“The Review does though emphasise that the assessment process should be more transparent to help improve claimant trust in the system.”He refused to comment further.Elsewhere in his report, Gray says public trust in the “fairness and consistency” of PIP decisions was “not currently being achieved, with high levels of disputed award decisions, many of them overturned at appeal”.He is also critical of DWP’s new mandatory reconsideration process, the internal process that all claimants have to go through before appealing to an independent tribunal.He says in his report that tribunal judges are “sceptical about the thoroughness of the Mandatory Reconsideration process”.He adds: “Furthermore, currently 65 per cent of appeal hearings overturn the initial decision which is clearly eroding the trust of claimants and stakeholders in the system.”Gray says progress made by DWP to improve PIP since his first review in 2014 has been “mixed”, with implementation of his recommendations “either incomplete or slower than the Review had hoped in many areas”.He adds: “Professionals and organisations were asked to comment on progress since the first Review. The majority of feedback regarding this was negative.”In a further blow to the credibility of ministers, he says that tribunal judges told the review that “rather than further written evidence, it is cogent oral evidence from the claimant at the hearing that is by far their most common reason for overturning decisions”.Ministers and Tory MPs – including former disabled people’s minister Justin Tomlinson last week – have repeatedly claimed that the main reason for successful appeals was claimants producing fresh written evidence at their tribunals.Gray also warns that he had been concerned to see that some assessors appeared to assume that if a claimant had a job this was evidence “of limited functional impairment”.In his recommendations, he says he hopes that DWP “re-emphasises and ensures that employment will not disadvantage claimants when they seek to claim PIP and explores ways in which PIP may be an enabler in improving employment retention”.Among Gray’s other recommendations, he suggests DWP should introduce audio recording of assessments to increase claimant confidence, as long as there is an opt-out option.But there are likely to be concerns over another of Gray’s recommendations, that the responsibility for ensuring that further evidence is gathered should “primarily sit with the claimant” rather than DWP or the assessor.He made the recommendation even though more than 87 per cent of the professionals and organisations who responded to the question, following his appeal for evidence, believed claimants faced barriers to providing further evidence.Disabled activists, coroners and Scotland’s Mental Welfare Commission have all linked the failure to secure the necessary further evidence with the deaths of claimants of the out-of-work sickness and disability benefit, employment and support allowance (ESA).A legal case backed by the Mental Health Resistance Network resulted in the upper tribunal administrative appeals chamber ruling that the ESA assessment process discriminated against some disabled people with mental health conditions and learning difficulties.Asked about his recommendation on further evidence, Gray said in a statement: “As the review makes clear, the department should make a concerted effort to improve communication products to ensure accessibility and ensure that PIP claimants understand what evidence should be provided.“The review advises this should be done before the department emphasises that the primary responsibility for collecting evidence rests with the claimant.“The review also emphasises that, although the primary responsibility for evidence provision should rest with the claimant, the department and providers should make use of evidence they hold elsewhere in the benefits system and should also follow up evidence leads that emerge during the claim process.”When asked whether he was aware of the Mental Health Resistance Network WCA appeal ruling, and the links between the failure to secure further evidence for ESA claims and the deaths of claimants, he again refused to comment further.In a written statement, published on the last day before MPs began their Easter recess, Penny Mordaunt, minister for disabled people, said the government welcomed the review’s publication “and will consider its findings and issue a detailed response in due course”.Meanwhile, a petition on the UK parliament website which calls for all PIP and ESA assessments to be video-recorded because of the “errors and false or inaccurate statements” made in their reports by healthcare professionals, has reached more than 3,000 signatures.The petition, created by Sharon Ann Smith, says that a video recording of the assessment “would assist claimants, the DWP and appeals panels by giving an indisputable record of the assessment”.last_img read more

Life of Mission mentor in the making cut short by murder

first_img“He had had some challenges when he was coming up through the grades,” said Nancy Obregon, his fourth and fifth grade teacher. “I believe when he got to me, I was the first Latino teacher that he had, and I think … we connected in that way.”Already, she said, Esquivel exhibited a thoughtfulness and emotional intelligence.Photo courtesy of CARECEN.Just a child then, he presented Obregon with a Christmas gift — a warm jacket that he’d picked out for her because he remembered her saying she was cold during recess one day. “I’ve gotten a lot of gifts from kids, but that one, that’s a little different for me,” Obregon said. “Not that I didn’t have jackets, he just saw a need for me, and he saw that his teacher was cold during yard duty. … That’s the kind of kid he was.” Academics, however, continued to be a challenge, even as young Esquivel developed an interest in drawing and his circle of friends grew.“He was having a horrible time in school,” recalled his seventh-grade teacher, Donna Amador. Esquivel was 14 or so and had been held back a grade. He insisted on trying to catch up to graduate with his peers. “It took months with him after school. His mom would come in and work on assignments together. [We would] do things that involve drawing, whatever it took to make him be able to feel successful,” Amador said. “By midway through the year, he was put into eighth grade.”Karen Ferreira, Esquivel’s friend since they attended Leonard R. Flynn Elementary School together, remembered his struggle to rejoin his year-mates.“He fought to just graduate with our class, and he did, he made it,” she said. “It was shocking, but it was really cool for him to fight his way to be in his class with his friends.” For Amador, one breakthrough came on a field trip with her class when a park ranger accused Esquivel of having tagged something. She came to his defense. “He told me no one had ever stood up for him before, … believed in him, and that broke my heart,” she remembered. “He just broke down and so did I. Because how can a child go through life with no official person saying, ‘I believe you, you’re a good person?’”Back with his peers, Esquivel moved on through high school and pushed himself toward a brighter future he would never get to reach.Photo courtesy of CARECEN.“It was heartbreaking, because he didn’t even have his chance to live his full life,” Ferreira said.  His friends and teachers remember a young man dedicated to fitness, exercising regularly and taking his friends along with him.“He would actually motivate his friends to go to the gym with him and work out and he would tell them what to do, … giving them advice on what they should eat and shouldn’t eat,” Ferreira said.He also joined CARECEN’s drumming group and drummed in Carnaval with the acclaimed local samba group Fogo Na Roupa. Among his friends, Esquivel was known for hosting gatherings to watch boxing matches at his home — plans had already been made to watch the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight together when his life was cut short.  In recent years, Esquivel had become increasingly involved with CARECEN, even taking an eight-day trip to Nicaragua through the organization’s Raíces program to reconnect with his cultural heritage. He had completed a paid internship and was on his way to possibly becoming a youth worker year-round with the organization. His friend Ferreira said he hoped to help guide other neighborhood youth. While Esquivel was never involved with gangs, the associated violence of such groups had already touched many of his friends’ lives.“He wanted to be a counselor to help young teens get out of gang life, and really just help them out,” she said. “It didn’t really matter to him, the blue or the red side or whatever side, he just wanted to help people.”That, it turned out, he was well suited for. Aside from always being well put together, interested and present, he was empathetic and engaged.“He was a really good listener, very thoughtful in his interventions, really quick learner, he had a lot of empathy for people,” said CARECEN’s Lariza Dugan-Cuadra. “He was one of those bright, quiet stars.” Tags: obituary • shootings Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% 0%center_img The death of Abel Enrique Esquivel, Jr., more than a month ago left the 23-year-old’s mentors reeling from the loss of a young man on a trajectory to become a neighborhood leader. Freshly graduated from a youth leadership program at the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), Esquivel was, by all accounts, a generous and humble Mission native with plans to become a counselor to other young people. That ended when he was fatally shot at 26th Street and South Van Ness Avenue on Aug. 15 by a gun that had been stolen from a police officer’s car. Three men have been arrested and charged in connection with his murder. Equivel’s friends and teachers said that in the years before his murder, he had found his calling. Finding his way to that path took a kind of motivation that others noticed in Esquivel years ago. last_img read more

JON Wilkin thinks the Wigan defeat was a timely re

first_imgJON Wilkin thinks the Wigan defeat was a timely reminder of what it takes to win a big match.He says Michael Maguire’s side were ruthless in defence and that has to be a key of Saints’ play going forward.“Our pride was dented after the Wigan match,” he said “We turned up to win that game and we got beaten. From the outside it may seem like we got beaten without a fight but that wasn’t the case. We tried hard, had passion and energy and but we didn’t have that last two per cent that gets you from a good team to a championship team.“Wigan were ruthless and disciplined with us and that is a timely reminder of what we need to do to win a big game. Our execution was poor and we defended too much. You can’t do that in the big games and win.“We have enjoyed the intensity in training this week. It has been the best of the season so far. We have been aggressive with each other and ruthless.“I didn’t realise we hadn’t beaten the teams above us until after the match and that isn’t something that sits comfortably with us. It is a massive game this week and we need to lay a marker that we aren’t a soft touch. We need to fight for every inch on the field and show desperation and desire. That’s what makes champion teams.“Warrington’s success this season has been their stingy defence as it gives them the energy to go out and score points. They are knocking teams over and making everyone sit up and take notice too.”Jon has been one of Saints standout performers over the last few weeks and has been playing nearly 80 minutes a match.He also played in the Origin game and admits he has enjoyed the challenge of backing up recently.“It’s been a difficult few weeks but to be honest I didn’t feel any knocks or anything like that until midway through the Wigan game. The Exiles match was a good experience and I didn’t get chance to recover for the Bradford match – but that didn’t affect me much.“We contributed four forwards for the Exiles match and we played a lot of minutes. But that’s no excuse as we are conditioned to play that about of time. My match fitness I as good as it has been for a long time.“I know there is talk of the game being on a free weekend, but I’m not that bothered. I enjoyed the mental and physical challenge of going from the Exiles Weekend to Bradford and then to Wigan.“I think there is plenty of scope for it to become a big day and possibly a series in the future. It was well supported and the intensity was there too.“It is certainly the closest I have been to playing in a Test Match environment without playing Australia or New Zealand.“It felt like a big game and that’s important!”last_img read more

OLIVER Davies has been selected for England Academ

first_imgOLIVER Davies has been selected for England Academy’s match against Australian Schoolboys on Friday.The final game of the 2014 Autumn Academy International Series will take place at Leigh Sports Village with a 7.00pm kick-off.England Squad:Ash Golding (Leeds Rhinos, Oulton Raiders), Jack Johnson (Warrington Wolves, Saddleworth Rangers), Ash Handley (Leeds Rhinos, Stanley Rangers), Toby King (Warrington Wolves, Meltham All Blacks), Jack Logan (Hull FC, Cottingham Tigers), Jordan Abdul (Hull FC, Skirlaugh), Joe Keyes (London Broncos, Medway Dragons), Ted Chapelhow (Widnes Vikings, West Bank Bears), Robbie Ward (Leeds Rhinos, Oulton Raiders), Tyler Dickinson (Huddersfield Giants, Siddal), Oliver Davies (St Helens, Orrell St James), Jansin Turgut – Captain (Hull FC, West Hull), Sam Wilde (Warrington Wolves, Shevington Sharks), Luke Waterworth (Wigan Warriors, Ince Rose Bridge), Will Maher (Castleford Tigers, Ulverston), Mikey Wood (Huddersfield Giants, Slaithwaite Saracens), Elliot Minchella (Leeds Rhinos, West Bowling).Australian Schoolboys:Gideon Gela (North Queensland Cowboys, Kirwan State High School Townsville QLD), Connor Cox (Morayfield State High School, Morayfield QLD), Braden Robson (Newcastle Knights, St Francis Xavier College Hamilton NSW), Keenan Yorston (Cronulla Sharks, Wavell State High School Wavell Heights QLD), Latrell Mitchell (Sydney City Roosters, Marist College Pagewood NSW), Brock Lamb (Newcastle Knights, St Mary’s College Maitland NSW), Jack Cogger (Newcastle Knights, Mackillop Catholic College Warnervale NSW), Hame Sele (St George Illawarra Dragons, Kingsgrove High School Kingsgrove NSW), Jayden Brailey (Cronulla Sharks, Acquinas Catholic College Manai NSW), Tom Amone (Parramatta Eela, The Hills Sports High School Seven Hills NSW), Tyrell Fuiaomano (Parramatta Eels, Patrician Brothers College Blacktown NSW), Ash Nisbet (Cronulla Sharks, St Gregory’s College Cambeltown NSW), Ray Stone (West Tigers, Wollindilly Anglican College Bargo NSW), Jacob Liddle (West Tigers, Wadalba Community School Wadalba NSW), Keegan Hipgrave (Brisbane Broncos, Palm Beach Currumbin State High School Palm Beach QLD), Jacob Host (St George Illawarra Dragons, De la Salle College Revesby Heights NSW), Oliver Clark (Penrith Panthers, Terra Sancta College Schofields NSW).See the stars of the future as England Academy take on the Australian Schoolboys on Friday 12 December at Leigh Sports Village (7.00pm). This is a pay on the door event – £5 for adults and £3 for concessions.last_img read more

IF title defences are built on defence then this c

first_imgIF title defences are built on defence then this could prove to be the night Saints showed Super League they aren’t going away.Following two breathtaking tries from Shannon McDonnell and Tommy Makinson they produced the sort off dogged performance that typified their route to the top prize at Old Trafford last year.Heroes across the field emerged with last gasp tackles and players putting their hands up for work in attack.The pack was as strong as it needed to be and the likes of Josh Jones and Matty Fleming put in their best performances of the year.Dougie Charnock, in at scrum half in place of the injured Luke Walsh – and the suspended Jon Wilkin – looked lively from the off and throughout the encounter.His chip over on the last early on had Hull on their heels and in the fifth minute a carbon copy put the hosts on their own line again.Steve Michaels threatened on the left hand side for Hull moments later and it took a keen Travis Burns tackle in the 12th minute to stop the winger once more.Saints won a set in Hull’s half on 15 minutes and them Adam Swift’s great run put them right on FC’s line.Cunningham’s men couldn’t take advantage though – and weren’t helped by the referee stopping play with Saints on Hull’s line for an injury 70 metres behind them in back play.Saints weren’t to de done though and went ahead with a try of epic proportions.On the last they pushed it right, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook scooped it up and  then kicked it left.Yes, you read that right.Burns took it up, chipped into the corner for Swift who knocked it inside for Turner to feed Shannon McDonnell.Superb.Tommy Makinson tagged on the extras and then Dougie Charnock added a penalty on 26 minutes.Hull began to creep back into it though and it was no surprise when Leon Pryce showed and ‘goed’ after Saints had been penalised twice on the hop.Marc Sneyd making it a two point game at half time.Saints had chances early in the second half, forcing a drop out, before Charnock added his second penalty kick of the evening.Hull applied the pressure once more and won a repeat set when Saints were adjudged to have knocked on – much to the total dismay of the visitors.Saints dug deep to defend their lines before Charnock missed the opportunity to take it out to 12-6 – the youngster slipping as he attempted to knock over a penalty on 52 minutes.Five minutes later Hull struck and it came on the back of another penalty – much like Pryce’s try in the first half.On the last the homesters pushed it wide and somehow Jordan Abdull crossed with pressure all around him. Sneyd missing the conversion.Saints hit back in true champion style.On the last Burns kicked to the corner and Makinson let higher than anyone else, took the ball in midair and scored in the corner.He then slotted the conversion from the touchline – and gave Saints six point advantage – and one they saw through.The visitor’s strong kicking game had Hull coming off their line time and time again but it was their defence in the 70th minute that kept the home side at bay.Two wonderful breaks got Hull down the field and then it took an almighty effort in the corner from Adam Swift to stop Curtis Naughton.They then weathered two sets right on their own line following a break and a penalty.And in the last minute Jordan Turner made it safe with a drop goal that bobbled over.Match Summary:Hull FC:Tries: Pryce, AbdullGoals: Sneyd (1 from 2)Saints: Tries: McDonnell, MakinsonGoals: Makinson (2 from 2), Charnock (2 from 3)Drop: TurnerPenalties: Hull FC: 6Saints: 4HT: 8-6FT: 17-10REF: M Thomason ATT: 10,320Teams:Hull FC:32. Jordan Rankin; 20. Curtis Naughton, 5. Fetuli Talanoa, 4. Kirk Yeaman, 19. Steve Michaels; 6. Leon Pryce, 7. Marc Sneyd; 10. Liam Watts, 9. Danny Houghton, 8. Mickey Paea, 12. Mark Minichiello, 3. Setaimata Sa, 11. Gareth Ellis.Subs: 15. Chris Green, 16. Jordan Thompson, 21. Richard Whiting, 27. Jordan Abdull.Saints: 34. Shannon McDonnell; 2. Tommy Makinson, 30. Matty Fleming, 3. Jordan Turner, 5. Adam Swift; 6. Travis Burns, 26. Lewis Charnock; 10. Kyle Amor, 9. James Roby, 14. Alex Walmsley, 15. Mark Flanagan, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 4. Josh Jones.Subs: 8. Mose Masoe, 18. Luke Thompson, 19. Greg Richards, 25. Andre Savelio.last_img read more

Hospitality Ticket

first_imgOff-the-back of qualifying for the Coral Challenge Cup Final at Wembley for the first time in 11 years, our next home fixture will see us look to further stretch our lead at the top of the Betfred Super league table and strengthen our claim to the 2019 League Leaders Shield, with a visit from Wakefield Trinity.There are very limited places still available in the Stapleton Derby Premier Lounge, please contact the Club on 01744 455053 for more info.Match tickets are also still available and start from just £10 for 16s and under and £23 for adults. You can get yours online here by calling 01744 455052 or by visiting the Ticket Office at the Totally Wicked Stadium.,Off-the-back of qualifying for the Coral Challenge Cup Final at Wembley for the first time in 11 years, our next home fixture will see us look to further stretch our lead at the top of the Betfred Super league table and strengthen our claim to the 2019 League Leaders Shield, with a visit from Wakefield Trinity.,Match tickets are also still available and start from just £10 for 16s and under and £23 for adults. You can get yours online here by calling 01744 455052 or by visiting the Ticket Office at the Totally Wicked Stadium.last_img read more

Brunswick Co teen arrested in Mallory Creek Clubhouse arson

first_imgMichael Allen Dean Doak charged with arson. (Photo: Leland Police) LELAND, NC (WWAY) — Leland Police have arrested the man they say is responsible for setting the clubhouse at Mallory Creek Plantation on fire Wednesday.Michael Allen Dean Doak, 19 of River Road Winnabow, is charged with felony breaking/entering and 2nd degree arson.- Advertisement – A Mallory Creek resident told WWAY someone placed a roll of paper towels in the oven and then turned it on.At this time, the cost of repairs have not been determined.Police say Doak was arrested at his home around 6 p.m. Thursday.Related Article: Dad detains naked accused child molester at gunpoint at parkDoak is in jail under a $60,000 secured bond.last_img read more

Mayor Damage from Florence tops nearly 220 million in New Hanover County

first_img00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settings WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said private property damage assessment show $219 million worth of damage from Hurricane Florence in New Hanover County with $38 million in the city of Wilmington.Florence accrued more debris than any other storm in Wilmington’s history.- Advertisement – But as clean up is underway, officials discussed how to improve the disaster plan across the area for the future.Of the many concerns discussed, a few areas of improvement were addressed my multiple leaders including the inaccessible evacuation routes and how shelters were operated. I-95 and I-40 were shut down effectively cutting off Wilmington. A few officials expressed their concern with the transport of evacuees to differing shelters.But, Kure Beach Mayor Craig Bloszinsky says he is thankful their were no reported injuries to helpers or citizens There was a hit to the pier with an estimated 150 structural damages. The biggest challenge, however, was not the storm surge.Related Article: African American Business Council hosts first meet-and-greet“Our problem was the rain and storm debris getting to drain,” said Bloszinsky. “Keeping drains clean was a priority and saved quite a few of these structures in town.”Saving structures and businesses was key to the storm preparation. Leaders say work is being done to discuss short term and long term plans for businesses and displaced families.Hundreds of families who lost their homes or apartments still face the challenge of finding a place to live.“We’re working with the convention center and visitor’s bureau, ” said Chamber of Commerce President Natalie English. “There reaching out to all hotels in the region to find out what room availability there is so we can house people. We are reaching out from the chamber to developers to apartment complex owners and anyone who might own a home that is not lived in.”English says they are also searching for places for local businesses to go.The recovery process is long but leaders hope to learn from what went wrong and what can be done in the future to better prepare for a natural disaster.last_img read more

All Hurricane Florence emergency shelters now closed

first_img As of yesterday, they had 39 people still in the shelter.The Red Cross was able to place 35 of those people in hotels, one resident at the Good Shepherd Center, and one with family.The other two declined the options offered to them and are receiving Red Cross financial assistance.Related Article: Florence destroys Pender County farm, help comes from across country“This has been a total team effort, we have had a number of agencies, both government and private, who have been here for weeks working with each and every client one-on-one to figure out what their needs are, and help to tailor a housing solution that’s going to work for them,” said Jarvis.Jarvis says all cots will be sterilized and put in storage for the next disaster.All blankets will be thrown away, and the church will be cleaned. The last Red Cross shelter in Wilmington closes.(Photo: Matt Bennett/WWAY) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Eight weeks to the day after Hurricane Florence made landfall along our coast, the last two Red Cross shelters in North Carolina closed today.James Jarvis with the Red Cross says everyone in the shelter at 1380 North College Road in Wilmington was notified a week ago that it would shut down at noon today.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Two years in jail for threatening and injuring police officers and doctor

first_img <a href=’http://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/ck.php?n=ab2c8853&amp;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’https://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=97&amp;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> SharePrint A man that threatened and injured three members of the police force and a doctor was found guilty and sentenced to two year of prison by the Gozo Courts.The 28-year-old resident of Żebbuġ and born in Eritrea was accused of resisting, attacking, threatening and injuring lightly three police officers and a doctor at Marsalforn and the Gozo General Hospital on the 25th and 26th of June.He has also been accused of not following police orders and for voluntarily breaching the public peace.The man pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to two years in jail and fined €5,000.WhatsApplast_img read more

Orange Money users to access VISA services from this August

first_imgAdvertisement Orange has announced a new set of mobile payment services in conjunction with Visa for Orange Money subscribers. Botswana will be the first country to benefit from the new program and will allow easy access to funds 24 hours a day, bringing new point-of-sale, online and ATM transaction options to consumers.Apart from Botswana, other Orange affiliates in Africa operate in the following countries – Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Niger, Senegal and Uganda.Currently, Orange Money allows customers to use their mobile phones to transfer funds to any mobile phone subscriber in or outside the country, buy airtime, and pay bills. – Advertisement – From August this year, registered Orange Money subscribers in Botswana will be able to use their Orange Money account to make Visa enabled payments and pay invoices at stores, international online merchants and at over 300 Visa ATMs across the country. To access this range of innovative services, Orange Money subscribers will need to apply for a Orange Money prepaid Visa card, which will be instantly linked to their existing Orange Money account. The card, secured with a PIN code, will then allow them to use funds to make point-of-sale payments at retailers and withdraw cash at ATMs. Subscribers will also benefit from a secured virtual Orange Money prepaid Visa card for their web purchases.The Orange Money Visa card will be available to all sectors of the population, ranging from the unbanked and under-banked, blue collar workers, rural dwellers as well as the young, self-employed and students.Botswana is the first country in the world where this new innovative program for enhanced mobile payments will be launched, following the announcement of a group-wide collaboration between Orange and Visa in 2012. Other countries in Africa and the Middle East, where Orange Money is already available, will progressively offer the Orange Money prepaid Visa card.[related-posts]Visa’s Head of Digital Solutions for Emerging Markets, Hannes Van Rensburg said: “This is a significant milestone in Visa’s strategy to drive financial inclusion and we are excited to be launching this service with Orange in Botswana. The program will contribute to the mobile money revolution in Africa, enabling many more people to access the benefits of the formal financial system.”“I am proud to announce this world’s first launch that will give unbanked population access to a Visa card and to all related services thanks to their Orange Money account. By combining the convenience of Orange Money with the reach of Visa’s global payment network, we can offer new payment capability to Orange Money customers in their home country and abroad,” said Thierry Millet, Director of the strategic NFC and payment programme at Orange.Developing countries in Africa and the Middle East are among the first target markets for Orange and Visa to deploy cross-over prepaid products and services, helping to drive economic growth and financial inclusion by migrating cash spend to electronic payments.last_img read more

RelativeWave Gets Acquired By Google

first_imgAdvertisement RelativeWave, creators of an $80 “interaction design and prototyping” Mac app called Form, has been acquired by Google. As a result, Form is now free.In case you’ve never used it, Form is a visual editor meant to help designers/developers make visually-functional prototypes of apps without writing code.Form isn’t an app maker. That is, you don’t end up with an app that’ll do much on its own, or that you can distribute. Instead, you’ll get a rough prototype — a feel for whether or not a potential design (and many of its nuances, like the specifics of how an animation flows) are heading in the right direction. If doodling on a napkin is a 1 and actually coding the app is a 10, building a prototype with Form is somewhere around a 6. – Advertisement – Form is actually two apps: one that runs on OS X, and one that runs on an iOS device. You design your prototype in the OS X app’s visual editor, and those changes are instantly reflected in the pseudo-app running on the device without the need to recompile anything.At launch, Form was $150. In September of this year, they dropped the price down to $80.With today’s news of the team joining Google, however, Form goes free. You can find it on the Mac app store here. In a somewhat irregular (but appreciated) move, the company says they’ll be refunding those who previously purchased the app.Details of the acquisition weren’t disclosed (we’re digging, as usual), but it doesn’t seem like a classic “Hire the team, kill the product” situation. RelativeWave says they’ll continue to work on Form at Google — presumably working on an Android version, as Form is currently iOS only.Still not sure what Form is? We’ve embedded an intro video below. It’s a bit long, but it should start to make sense within a few minutes. Credits Techcrunchlast_img read more

Facebook Is Making It Harder for You to Forget Your Friends Birthdays

first_imgFacebook has started to test a feature that will make it a lot harder for you to “miss” the birthdays of your closest friends. Advertisement Facebook has started to test a feature that will make it a lot harder for you to “miss” the birthdays of your closest friends – by displaying a big, friendly banner at the top of your news feed announcing that it’s someone’s Big Day.The banner is similar to the polite greetings that some users have started to see, wishing them a good morning, afternoon, or evening by name. “Thanks for being here,” the greetings read. “Enjoy Facebook today!” Those greetings seemed to quietly roll out in late October, puzzling, delighting, and/or creeping out those who saw them.But the birthday message – which, in an email to The Post, Facebook called a “birthday experience” – takes that to another level. The feature is still in testing, but essentially, it’s designed to remind you when one of your closer friends (according to Facebook, at least) has a birthday, so that you don’t “forget” to post the customary birthday wishes on his or her timeline. – Advertisement – Last week was my friend Niraj’s birthday. Niraj and I have known each other since middle school, and we now work at the same company. There’s a pretty substantial digital trail on Facebook that would indicate to the network that he is one of my “top” friends, to use their terminology. So at least three separate times on Niraj’s birthday, when I navigated to Facebook, I saw a large reminder: “It’s Niraj’s birthday! We thought you wouldn’t want to miss a chance to wish him a happy birthday.”There are many fine people who dutifully post birthday greetings to their friends on Facebook. I am not one of those people (sorry, friends). Until the giant banner with Niraj’s face started to haunt my day, I had found it pretty easy to ignore the notifications that Facebook currently uses to remind you about birthdays.Eventually, I gave in and wrote something on Niraj’s timeline, just to see if it would trigger Facebook to make the banner go away (it seemed to).A Facebook spokesperson said that the birthday greeting I saw was one of a handful of different features the site is currently testing, all aimed at making Facebook itself more “present inside of the product, to build positive emotional experiences and show people that we care.”That idea seems to resonate with what Chris Cox, the company’s chief product officer, told the Wall Street Journal recently about how the company addresses issues like privacy with its users – Cox emphasized the need for Facebook as an entity to adopt a “warm” tone while communicating with the site’s users directly. He gave the example of Facebook’s “privacy dinosaur,” a friendly blue dino that recently started walking users through their privacy settings.[related-posts]In another recent piece, the Wall Street Journal recently pointed to a different reason Facebook might want to convert me into a part-time birthday greeting writer: Although a GlobalWebIndex survey found that 65 percent of the network’s users visit the site daily, their results also indicated that fewer users are actually posting content these days. Instead, a portion of daily visitors are “lurking,” reading the news feeds from their friends, but not contributing anything of their own.If Facebook’s engagement slides downward, that could have long-term consequences for the appeal of the network. What’s clear is that the site has rolled out several different experiments to trigger more posts in recent months.Those include the widely-seen “On this Day” feature, which encourages users to re-share an old post from a previous year. The site has also rolled out some event-specific posting prompts, including a collaboration with AMC that coincided with the return of “The Walking Dead,” the Wall Street Journal noted.In that capacity, the birthday guilt trip worked. Although my birthday “greeting” wasn’t exactly what Facebook asked me to do, the feature did successfully convince me to post something in response, even out of spite. And by the way, Niraj, I got you a card.[Gadgets 360]last_img read more

Prisma for iOS Gets Offline Support for Images

first_imgAdvertisement Developers of photo-editing app that transform images into an artistic effect, Prisma, have added the much-requested offline functionality to the extremely popular photo-filter app.With its Prisma newer version 2.4 on iOS, which is already available on App Store, the app is now capable of turning your photos into art pieces offline and as expected, the processing of images will be much quicker than before. Android users of the app will also be getting the offline functionality “very soon”.Some online reports have already reported that the app has became much faster in processing images and retrieving them from the server. – Advertisement – No contact with servers for application of art filters for images implies data savings, saves time waiting for overloaded servers, and, gives the added benefit of privacy to the app users.According to The Next Web, the servers will now be used for processing videos. Prisma developers for a long time said they’re working on a video-filter option for the app and as the servers are free from the image-processing, they will be able to take on the ardent task of rendering the videos from here on.last_img read more

STAR PREVIEW Chelsea v Arsenal

first_imgMEETING EDDIE FREMANTLE (part 1) BET WITH STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321 [dropcap]A[/dropcap]n action replay from just seven days ago. There was nothing to choose between this pair at the Emirates in the Premier League last week when the entertaining encounter finished 2-2. Chelsea led before Arsenal’s late equaliser through Hector Bellerin shared the spoils.Since then, the Gunners suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup when Wenger’s tactics of playing an understrength side were widely criticised and punished accordingly. Naughty boy Mr Wenger will again be in the stands as part of his touchline ban.Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 10 home games – winning all bar their Champions League draw with Atlético Madrid and will be boosted by the expected return of Eden Hazard who has recovered from his calf injury.Conte seems set to name a strong side. He said: “When you play every three days, it’s important to make rotations – but at the same time, your team must be very strong, otherwise you risk dropping in this trophy.“It’s a very important game for us, a semi-final and the chance to win a trophy. We deserve to be here and it will be a tough game against Arsenal.”Arsenal are not the type of side to come out with their heads bowed and the London derby between the pair is usually an exciting affair. Their shock 2-4 loss at Forest was the first away defeat in six games having showed grit in their draws away to both Chelsea and Liverpool.Chelsea V ArsenalCarabao Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg20.00 Sky Sports FootballHEAD TO HEAD RECORD(Maximum 10 matches)Jan 2018 Premier League Arsenal 2-2 ChelseaSep 2017 Premier League Chelsea 0-0 ArsenalAug 2017 Community Shield Chelsea 1-1 ArsenalJuly 2017 Club Friendlies Arsenal 0-3 ChelseaMay 2017 FA Cup Arsenal 2-1 ChelseaFeb 2017 Premier League Chelsea 3-1 ArsenalSep 2016 Premier League Arsenal 3-0 ChelseaJan 2016 Premier League Arsenal 0-1 ChelseaSept 2015 Premier League Chelsea 2-0 ArsenalAug 2015 Community Shield Arsenal 1-0 ChelseaThe match could prove to be a real scrap so I’m going for another draw with both sides well matched and Arsenal’s main priority presumably to keep a clean sheet ahead of the second leg at the Emirates.RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)BACK DRAW 5 points at 3/1 with Star SportsPROFIT/LOSS SINCE JAN 1 2017: PROFIT 75.13 pointslast_img read more

DAVY RUSSELL Punchestown Festival Tuesday

first_imgFive days of fantastic racing get underway at Punchestown on Tuesday and I can’t wait for the week ahead.I’ll be blogging each day on starsportsbet.co.uk with views on my rides at the Punchestown Festival where there is always a great atmosphere on track. It’s a little more relaxed than the Cheltenham Festival and the crowd are always right on top of you so it creates a intense and thrilling atmosphere.I have four rides on Tuesday.TUESDAYPUNCHESTOWN FESTIVALPALOMA BLUE (4.20pm Herald Champion Novice Hurdle)I thought he ran a cracking race at Cheltenham finishing fourth to Summerville Boy in the Supreme. That was the deepest ground he has ever encountered and we are looking at yielding ground at the moment which is similar to 12 months ago when he finished runner-up to the ill-fated Fayonagh in the Champion Bumper. I’ve got a length to find on Mengli Khan on Cheltenham form and although Getabird was well behind in the that race, the way he bounced back to form at Fairyhouse the last day suggests his only ever defeat was nothing more than a blip.BEN DUNDEE (4.55pm)Might be my best chance on day one but we need the penny to drop with him and to see a return to his true form. The ground wasn’t ideal for him last time out at Cheltenham in the County and the tongue tie is on for the first time today. Something’s been amiss but it’s been a struggle to find out exactly what and hopefully the tongue tie might see him back to form. It’s ultra-competitive and interesting to see the two Willie Mullins trained fillies at the bottom of the weights. True Self and Pietralunga were both fallers last time out but if none the worse for that experience could easily get competitive off their low weights.ORDINARY WORLD (5.30pm BoyleSports Champion Chase)Had a massive job on his hands in the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival but it looks as though we are not going to see the faster ground which he really needs. We have new tactics with him – just drop him in at the back and hopefully pick up one of the valuable places late on – the win obviously being the mega bonus! This is a proper championship race with Douvan, Min and Un De Sceaux making up a formidable trio from the Willie Mullins yard. Of those three, Douvan might be the pick given how well he was going before falling in Cheltenham.THE STORYTELLER (6.30pm Growise Champion Novice Chase)He gave me a great ride when winning at the Cheltenham Festival but found life tougher at Fairyhouse in the Ryanair Gold Cup Novice Chase when fifth to Al Boum Photo who he has to contend with again. This looks another big ask for him and the ground isn’t ideal either. I know Monalee well and he looks perhaps the biggest danger alongside Finian’s Oscar who came back to form at Aintree.Best Of LuckDAVY YOUR SAYIf you have a question for Davy drop us a line at content@www.starsportsbet.co.uk and we’ll try and include in the next blog…last_img read more

STARTERS ORDERS Saturday 13 April

first_imgWelcome to Starters Orders. Star Sports update with our key market movers for the day and sign up specials.Saturday 13 AprilHORSE RACING2.30 ThirskJM Jackson 13/8 > 5/43.50 NewburyFox Chairman 11/4 > 9/44.00 NaasImaging 11/2 > 11/4LIVE FOOTBALLPremier League17:30 BT Sport 1 / BT Sport 4K UHD2/5 Man Utd7/1 West Ham15/4 DRAWChampionship17:30 Sky Sports Football / Sky Sports Main Event8/15 Leeds United11/2 Sheffield Wednesday16/5 DRAWSTAR PROMOTIONSlast_img

Rice leadership expert comments on Facebook COOs study on women in corporate

first_imgAddThis ShareEXPERT ALERTDavid Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduJeff Falk713-348-6775jfalk@rice.eduRice leadership expert comments on Facebook COO’s study on women in corporate AmericaHOUSTON – (Oct. 1, 2015) – Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook Inc. and founder of LeanIn.org, wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Wednesday that despite modest improvements since 2012, women remain underrepresented at every corporate level. Her op-ed was based on a new study on women in corporate America.YAN “ANTHEA” ZHANG“And it turns out the drop-off in senior ranks is not mainly due to attrition,” Sandberg wrote. “Women, on average, are not leaving these companies at higher rates than men. Rather, they face more barriers to advancement and are less likely to reach senior leadership positions.”Yan “Anthea” Zhang, the Fayez Sarofim Vanguard Professor of Strategic Management at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business, is available to comment on Sandberg’s findings and key arguments.“The value of senior female executives in mentoring junior females has been well recognized,” Zhang said. “Indeed, even the females who have reached the C-suite still need support from other females. My research finds that a female CEO who succeeded a male predecessor often is associated with lower firm performance postsuccession and is more likely to leave office prematurely, compared with other types of CEO successors. However, having other females on the board of directors and/or in the top management team can reduce such liability of a female successor.”Zhang’s areas of specialization include CEO succession and dismissal, foreign direct investment and technology entrepreneurship in emerging markets. Among her research projects has been a study of women in Chinese boardrooms, which highlighted the progress made by women in Chinese companies compared with Western companies and argues against legislative quotas.To schedule an interview with Zhang, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at jfalk@rice.edu or 713-348-6775.Rice University has a VideoLink ReadyCam TV interview studio. ReadyCam is capable of transmitting broadcast-quality standard-definition and high-definition video directly to all news media organizations around the world 24/7.-30-Follow the Jones Graduate School of Business on Twitter @ricemba.Follow Rice News and Media Relations on Twitter @RiceUNews.Related materials:Yan “Anthea” Zhang: http://business.rice.edu/Anthea_ZhangJones Graduate School of Business: http://business.rice.edulast_img read more

Neglected tropical diseases are focus of new Baker Institute reports

first_imgAddThis ShareDavid Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduJeff Falk713-348-6775jfalk@rice.eduNeglected tropical diseases are focus of new Baker Institute reportsHOUSTON – (March 2, 2016) – Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) comprise a group of parasitic, viral and bacterial infections — such as the emerging Zika virus outbreak in Brazil — that mainly afflict people living in areas of extreme poverty, including some southern regions of the United States and Mexico. Two new policy reports by experts on NTD and science policy at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy address the key policy and ethical issues surrounding the diseases and make recommendations for reducing their prevalence in both countries.Mosquitoes are transmitters of several neglected tropical diseases. Credit: shutterstock.com/Rice UniversityThe first report, “Addressing NTDs in the U.S. and Mexico,” summarizes the findings of the Baker Institute conference “The United States and Mexico: Addressing a Shared Legacy of Neglected Tropical Diseases and Poverty,” which took place Sept. 29-30. The report reviews the impact and prevalence of NTDs in the U.S. and Mexico, addresses key policy challenges and makes recommendations for reducing NTDs in the two countries. It was co-authored by Dr. Peter Hotez, fellow in disease and poverty; Kirstin Matthews, fellow in science and technology policy; and Jennifer Herricks, postdoctoral fellow in disease and poverty.An estimated 12 million Americans live with at least one NTD. These diseases tend to be chronic, debilitating infections that leave patients malnourished, disabled and disfigured and often socially stigmatized and limited in their capacity to work or attend school.“Reducing the multifaceted impact of NTDs will require coordinated policies between these two countries that focus on preventive measures and access to therapies as well as the development of new treatments and vaccines,” the authors wrote. “It is the role of the U.S. and Mexican governments to incentivize scientific research on treatment and preventive measures for NTDs.”The authors recommend measuring the real burden of diseases by increasing surveillance; determining socio-economic determinants leading to increased NTD susceptibility; ensuring access to prevention and treatment; incentivizing research and development, and training community health workers.“Researchers, physicians, and policy scholars should coordinate with local, state, and national governments; the academic sector; pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies; and civil societies to create guidelines for successful elimination campaigns,” the authors wrote.The second report, “Ethical Considerations for the Creation of a National NTD Policy,” highlights some of the central ethical issues pertaining to policy development for neglected tropical diseases and argues that policymakers need to address ethical concerns such as what ought to be done and who an NTD policy ought to impact. The report was authored by Matthews and Ana Iltis, professor of philosophy and director of the Center for Bioethics, Health and Society at Wake Forest University and a scholar at the Baker Institute.In the U.S., addressing NTDs focuses largely on developing safe and effective mechanisms to prevent and treat the diseases, the authors said. They argue that new or existing treatments must be made available to those in need — often people living in poverty or extreme poverty (subsisting on less than $2 a day). “But research, development and delivery of these interventions is costly and relies mostly on funding from the federal government,” the authors wrote. “With pressure to limit government expenditures, decisions regarding the allocation of limited resources entail balancing priorities, which involve many, often unarticulated or implicit, ethical judgments.”The authors said that the U.S. should develop an NTD policy to further reduce the prevalence and impact of NTDs both within and outside of its borders.“Policy development regarding NTDs involves a wide range of ethical issues,” the authors wrote. “The claim that NTDs are ‘neglected’ and the claim that ‘something more’ ought to be done to combat NTDs are both normative judgments. Competing moral appeals lead to different accounts of what that ‘something more’ is and how to achieve it.”The authors recommend goals be established clearly at the outset of developing an NTD policy. These goals will give direction to policy efforts and guide evaluation.“To gloss over these questions puts policymakers at risk for ignoring important questions and assuming consensus where there is none, both of which can adversely affect the long-term sustainability of policy recommendations,” the authors wrote. “NTD policy must address questions about what ought to be done, by whom, when, in what order and how. These normative questions should not be ignored as part of policy-development efforts. It is not always appropriate for public policy to address them in detail. Nevertheless, policymakers must be careful that they do not assume answers or pretend that these questions can be sidestepped. Without an appreciation that this process involves making normative judgments, policymakers risk inadvertently making unethical choices. And without taking these questions seriously, we risk developing weak policies that have little substantive impact.”To interview one of the authors, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at jfalk@rice.edu or 713-348-6775.-30-Follow the Baker Institute via Twitter @BakerInstitute and @BakerCHB.Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.Related materials:Herricks biography: http://bakerinstitute.org/experts/jennifer-r-herricks.Hotez biography: http://bakerinstitute.org/experts/peter-j-hotez.Iltis biography: http://college.wfu.edu/philosophy/people/faculty/ana-s-iltis.Matthews biography: http://bakerinstitute.org/experts/kirstin-rw-matthews.Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks among the top five university-affiliated think tanks in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at www.bakerinstitute.org or on the institute’s blog, http://blogs.chron.com/bakerblog. last_img read more