The high health toll of SFs relentless rent increases

first_img Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletter Everyone knows that the rent is too damn high, but for seniors in the Mission and all across San Francisco, the mental health implications born from the struggle to find stable housing can have dire consequences.“Every single senior I’ve ever spoken with about evictions reports tremendous anxiety,” said Theresa Flandrich. Flandrich, who has experienced eviction, is an organizer at Senior and Disability Action, a SoMa-based organization that mobilizes and educates seniors and those with disabilities around social justice issues.As housing prices in San Francisco continue to rise, so too does the number of people evicted. From March 1, 2017 to February 28, 2018, there was a 109 percent increase in evictions caused by capital improvements, and a 58 percent increase in evictions caused by the Ellis Act’s withdrawal of units. (The Ellis Act, passed by the California legislature in 1985, permits landlords to evict all tenants if they wish to exit the rental market altogether.)This high-priced, competitive housing market takes a particularly high toll on the mental health of the city’s most vulnerable populations, says psychologist Tori Branch. Branch is the director of Clinical Services at the Access Institute, a nonprofit that provides therapy and psychiatric services to those who are underinsured and uninsured. “Somewhere between 15 and 20 percent of the people who complete an intake with us mentioned something about feeling anxiety, or stress about money or finances, or specifically housing,” said Branch.“Things have gotten far worse than they ever were,” said Tommi Avicolli Mecca, director of the counseling program at the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco. Mecca, who has lived in San Francisco for 27 years, said he has been advocating for tenants’ rights for 19 of those years and has seen a definite change in recent years.Data on the mental health consequences of housing instability are scarce, but tenants’ organizations and counseling groups, like those Branch and Mecca work for, said they are seeing the effects firsthand. And, in December 2010, a federal program found that safe housing is one of the basic needs crucial to good health, along with access to food and community design.Branch sees clients facing a cascade of anxiety-inducing problems once their housing is threatened. The mere threat of eviction can lead to anxiety; the fight to avoid eviction can be stressful; and increased anxiety, stress or depression can affect job performance, which can lead to eviction. This is one cycle Branch has observed.“It’s sort of like the chicken and the egg,” Branch said. “Once you lose something it’s hard to get it back.”Flandrich’s own experience offers an all too common example. She fought to keep her own home in the face of an Ellis Act Eviction for nearly four years, until she was finally evicted in 2016.She said she experienced fear and anxiety while going through the eviction, and now occasionally suffers post-traumatic stress while counseling seniors experiencing their own housing problems.“There is this underlying anxiety that is always there,” said Flandrich, who now has a new home. “It’s also the horror of what has happened to this city, that people are treated this way, that homes are treated as coffee beans on the market.”For 100-year-old Iris Canada, fighting several eviction attempts from her home of more than five decades in the Lower Haight was ultimately a death sentence, family members said. Canada had a unique lifetime lease on her apartment that was granted in 2005. In 2014, the owners sought to evict Canada to convert the building into condominiums. After a lengthy fight in court, Canada was granted the right to stay as long as she paid the owner’s attorney’s fees that racked up while Canada fought the evictions. The fees totaled more than $100,000. Canada was eventually evicted in February 2017. She died shortly afterward, in March.“Her doctor wrote a lot of letters describing her stress relating to this,” said Iris Merriouns, Canada’s great-niece. “Whenever we would go to court, her heart rate would go through the roof. It would take a few days for her to come back down.”But fighting sometimes is the only thing people can do.“People ask me, ‘was it worth it to fight?’” said Flandrich. “It wasn’t just about me. It was about, you know, what’s going on in the city.” center_img Email Addresslast_img read more

San Francisco needs to build more Navigation Centers — and also needs

first_imgOn a rainy evening in late March, Supervisor Matt Haney was walking through the Tenderloin when he lost his way. He slipped and slammed the back of his head into the slick pavement. The first person to respond was a homeless man sitting out the downpour in a cardboard shelter. He helped the dazed and bleeding supervisor out of the rain and offered him a napkin and a bottle of whiskey. Haney gladly accepted both. The two men leaned up against a wall and watched the rain fall; the homeless man put his arm around his supervisor and told him he’d look out for him. Now, Haney wants to return the favor. But he’s found the process is not unlike banging your head into the pavement. Email Address Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletter And yet, if we’re putting our effort and resources into alleviating people’s short-term suffering, if we’re treating the symptoms of homelessness and not its root cause — a dearth of housing —  hasn’t this city’s homeless strategy basically become the equivalent of palliative care? Kositsky disagrees with this comparison. But other career homeless workers we spoke to did not. Building navigation centers, they tell us, is an interim step until we can actually provide more housing. It’s the best we can do right now. And while it no longer resembles Dufty’s housing-or-bust mantra, he’s in favor of building more navigation centers anyway. The more navigation centers you build, he says, the more pressure it puts on the mayor and the supes to expand housing resources. And, fundamentally, it’s far cheaper and more humane to administer to people in shelters than on the street.There’s a lot of great things that a navigation center can do, but our city’s elected leaders have always overpromised their capacity and repurposed them so much to meet politically pressing needs that “navigation” is no longer their primary goal. But that seems typical of this city’s approach to homelessness writ large; we tend to focus on one element of the problem to the detriment of all others — then change course, and do that again. So, we need navigation centers. We need housing. But we need more. We need things elected officials don’t necessarily call for or point to: We need outreach; we need to stabilize the marginally housed; we need to address the broken mental health system. We need to further refine the methods we use to deliver services and even to organize them. Some of this is getting done, but it’s a struggle. It can, at times, feel like banging your head into the pavement. But that’s not nearly as bad as living on the pavement.  A man who called himself Crimewave said he had already checked into the new Mission District Navigation Center in June 2017. Photo by Lydia Chávez.When we met in his City Hall office last week, Haney seemed somewhat fatigued. He’d already appeared at more than a dozen separate meetings regarding the proposed Navigation Center on the waterfront, and would, that night, be at another. There have been more since. These have not been civil nor sedate affairs. In the era of the Embarcadero Freeway, the central waterfront was a realm of dying industry, flophouses, and crime. Now it’s a place for luxury condos and dog-walkers in yoga pants. The notion of dropping a homeless navigation center here has been received as well as suggestions of opening a rendering plant or a training facility for Somali pirates. Haney has been accused of being anti-family and anti-child. He has been callously accused of facilitating crime and blight in the neighborhood and angrily threatened with a recall (good luck with that). Navigation Center opponents, in short, have behaved like the villains in a movie where the hero is a dog — and everybody looks more sensible standing next to them. To wit, the disrespectful reception waterfront residents gave to Mayor London Breed was so over-the-top that one could be forgiven for forgetting that she campaigned against homeless measure Proposition C with disingenuous arguments, and that the unhoused are still being relieved of their tents by police during torrential rainstorms. Haney, as his close ally Supervisor Hillary Ronen did before him in the Mission, is fighting for a homeless shelter in his own district, perhaps against his own political well-being. Like Ronen, he’s sticking out his neck and will have to own the results, come what may (and, in the Mission, far from fears about crime or blight or reduced property value, the results appeared to be rather good.).  If Haney has his way, all of his colleagues will soon be familiar with this process. He’s introduced legislation mandating a navigation center in every supervisorial district. Is this the decent thing to do? Yes. Is it good politics, especially among D6 constituents frustrated that they’re saddled with the majority of the city’s burden? Yes. But is this the best solution for the people in question — the homeless? That’s harder to say. Is this practical? Is this politically feasible? And has this city’s elected leadership been honest about what a navigation center is — and what it is not? Not really. San Francisco is in an odd position. It needs to build more navigation centers. And it also needs to stop monomaniacally focusing on navigation centers.Bevan Dufty cleans the 16th Street BART Plaza. Photo by Susie Neilson.The city’s first proto-Navigation Center was born of fire. A blaze erupted at a homeless encampment at 5th and King in 2012; fires burned on both sides of the roadway and cars and trams rolled through the smoke like a scene out of some dystopian future. Being engulfed in flames diminishes one’s leverage, and the 30-odd residents of the shantytown agreed to then-homeless czar Bevan Dufty’s plan to move them into a nearby church basement and work to house them permanently (on the day of the planned move, a cop came by with three chronic homeless people and dropped them into the encampment so they could be housed, too. “It was the most entrepreneurial thing I’d ever seen,” recalls Dufty.). Of those 30 people, Dufty says 29 were housed (one, who had warrants, was jailed and later entered a treatment program). In 2015, the city opened up its first official Navigation Center, at 1950 Mission St. It was small, 75 people tops, and the rules were ostensibly simple: “My mantra was, you’re only gonna leave if you’re housed or if you become violent,” recalls Dufty. There was a 75-year-old grandmotherly Filipina woman who came in with nine shopping carts she’d been keeping on the 16th Street BART Plaza. She was sweet and charming and she played with dolls and would tell you about her sister, who was a mermaid. Responsibly placing someone like that in housing is a challenge. As it is for undocumented people, people who’ve slipped off of General Assistance, people who have outstanding warrants in other states, and others. This woman was at the Navigation Center for a year. Today, that would be difficult. In 2016, time limits were imposed at navigation centers and their raison d’être was unsubtly transmuted from housing each and every individual who walked in the gate to rapidly vacuuming up burgeoning encampments (the term “Navigation Center,” which poll tested at 90 percent positive, didn’t change). A 2017 San Francisco Public Press analysis found the bulk of homeless people “housed” out of navigation centers had accepted one-way bus tickets out of town via the Homeward Bound program. And that’s still the case. The Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (DHSH) today claims a shade more than half of those who pass through Navigation Centers exit homelessness — but not quite one in six land in permanent housing. Far more are taking the bus. (To be fair, many of the navigation center’s guests only stay there a night or two prior to their bus journey and never intended anything more). But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t build navigation centers. It just means the city needs to be more forthright about what it hopes to accomplish. Jeff Kositsky, the head of the city’s homeless department, says that “every night that someone doesn’t sleep outside is a success.” Navigation centers, famously, meet people where they’re at. You can bring in your pets, your spouse, your possessions. You’re not thrown out for minor transgressions (you can go around the corner and get high). You can eat when you like and head out at night to recycle cans. You can’t do any of these things at a shelter, and lots of homeless people won’t go to one.  “Many studies show that when people come inside, their cortisol levels will drop — their stress levels go down,” Kositsky continues. “They get healthier. They gain weight. They’re far more likely to have access to a doctor. Even though it may not result in permanent housing, it’s still an important service to provide to people.”last_img read more

MIKE Rush says he can take nothing for granted as

first_imgMIKE Rush says he can take nothing for granted as Saints prepare to take on Huddersfield Giants this Sunday.Although Paul Anderson’s side are in a real indifferent run of form, the Club’s acting head coach drew comparisons with the position St Helens where back in March.“We’re in good form, but we’re probably in the same position the Giants are in now when we faced Leeds in March,” he said. “That was our first game in charge and no one gave us a chance. We were scratching round for a win and this will be the first week Baloo has had with his side.“He will want to put his own slant on the team and having Kieron Purtill on board will help them too. That makes them very dangerous indeed.”Second place is very much still the aim for Saints after their poor start to the season and Rush has targeted the next couple of games as having a massive influence on where they will finish in the Stobart Super League table.“We can’t start talking about second place really as it isn’t in our hands and we’re reliant on other results,” he added. “We also need to stay in the form we are but our next couple of games are big and will define where we finish in the league this season.“Bar the Magic Weekend we have been pretty good most weeks. Good Friday would have been different but we lost Laffranchi and Wellens to bans and Jonny Lomax to injury after four minutes. We have been in good form ever since really, but we’d like our best form to come now and up to October 6.“We’re happy to stay under the radar. Our character has been good recently too. We had to go up through the gears to beat Hull KR and Widnes at the end and in Catalans too. We want to play a brand of football people want to watch and defend well too and because of that we are the second best defensive team in the league.”Tony Puletua will miss out at the weekend after being banned for his tackle on Gregory Mounis, whilst Mark Flanagan could make a return from a back injury.Rush continued: “We had a lot of conversation in house and with various people within the game about TPs tackle and we probably made the decision to put in an early guilty plea ‘under duress’ if that is the right term.“We didn’t want to make the plea but it was probably the best option to make sure Tony was available for the next game. If we had contested it we made have come away with a two game ban and felt like we’d made the wrong decision.“If that is the idea behind the plea, then it has worked on this occasion.“TP is my player and I am going to protect him. At this moment in time it is not illegal to make a shoulder charge and I believe he makes good contact with shoulder. I believe there is a little of Mounis falling or starting to fall, but at the end of the day, they deem from the first contact or follow through, that contact is made with the head and therefore it is a sending off.“I’m not pro or anti shoulder charging but I think we probably need to discuss it in the off season and define the laws.“We need to remember that one shoulder charge can be different to another. TP’s is different to Sam Moa’s – Sam is travelling forward whilst TP makes contact with his feet planted. The media say shoulder charges, but they are very mechanically different challenges…”Tickets are on sale for Sunday’s match at Langtree Park which kicks off at 7.45pm.You can buy from the Ticket Office at the club, by clicking here, or via the Ticket Hotline on 01744 455 052.last_img read more

Traffic Alert NCDOT closing lane on Dan Cameron Bridge Thursday

first_img The work is to improve the safe travel of vehicles using the bridge. No detour will be provided.NCDOT officials want to remind drivers to stay alert, and use alternate routes when possible, drive with caution and allow extra travel time. Traffic (Photo: Lorenz.markus97 / Flickr / CC BY 2.0) NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The North Carolina Department of Transportation will close one eastbound lane of the Dan Cameron Bridge during the day on Thursday, January 25.According to a release, the bridge, which runs over the Cape Fear River on I-140, will be inspected and repaired by crews from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Southport names new police chief department investigation still ongoing

first_img According to a news release from Oakley, Coring has more than 20 years of law enforcement experience with the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office and currently serves as a lieutenant. He also served on the Board of Alderman since 2011.This comes after Smith and his second-in-command, Lieutenant Michael Simmons, were fired earlier this month. Smith and Simmons were arrested in July after a long-term probe by state and federal investigators. The men were charged with obstruction of justice after allegedly working for a trucking company while on the clock.Oakley says an internal audit of the police department is still ongoing, being conducted by U.S.I.S.S. Agency.Related Article: Brunswick County sheriff discusses crime during Hurricane Florence, four arrestedOakley adds hiring Lt. Coring now will allow him to see where improvements and changes are needed. This will also allow the city to re-active the department sooner. Todd Coring (Photo: WWAY) SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — Southport has named their new chief of police.Todd Coring will fill the position left open by the recent firing of former Police Chief Gary Smith, town manager Bruce Oakley said Tuesday evening.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Wilmington Police officers honored promoted for exceptional service

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The men and women who serve Wilmington received a big thank you Tuesday afternoon.The Wilmington Police Department awarded and promoted officers who have done exceptional service.- Advertisement – Families and friends congratulated the many officers.Five officers received medals for their bravery in rescuing families during Hurricane Florence.The department promoted eight officers during the ceremony.Related Article: Man arrested after shots fired at occupied carDetective Joshua Childress was promoted to corporal.“It feels good to get back on patrol and mentor new officers who come in and they can learn from my mistakes and don’t make the same mistakes,” Cpl. Childress said.Cpl. Childress has been serving in the WPD for seven years.The department also swore in two new officers during the ceremony.Chief Ralph Evangelous says thank you to all who shared in this special day.last_img read more

Wilmington Police investigating after teen shot along Dock Street

first_img The investigation continues.Anyone with info should call WPD at (910) 343-3609 or use Text-a-Tip to remain anonymous. (Photo: LWP Communications / Flickr / CC BY 2.0) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – Wilmington Police are investigating a shooting that left a 19-year-old with injuries Saturday night.WPD responded to the 1000 block of Dock street around 9 p.m. in reference to a ShotSpotter notification. When they got there officers found the 19-year-old victim with a non-life-threatening gunshot wound. EMS took him to NHRMC.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Tourism Minister says that Selmun will be used for films

first_imgTourism Minister Konrad Mizzi told the House that Selmun Palace and the surrounding open spaces will be used as film locations for international film production. He also confirmed that the Palace and surrounding areas will be used for touristic purposes.Opposition MP and PN Whip Robert Cutajar asked the Minister at which stage is the sale of Selmun Palace.The Palace was built by Monte di Pietà in the 18th Century. A hotel known as Selmun Palace Hotel was built close to the villa, and it was owned by Selmun Palace Hotel Company Ltd, a subsidiary of Air Malta. The hotel was closed in 2011 as part of Air Malta’s restructuring procedures.Finance Minister Edward Scicluna had announced in Parliament that the Palace and the hotel are on sale. Minister Scicluna had explained that a technical evaluation was commissioned to assess the structural state of the building.WhatsApp <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> SharePrintlast_img read more

Watch One wrong judgment to ruin lives Remembering Jessica Tabone

first_img SharePrint <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> Jessica Tabone lost her life four years ago in a fatal car crash on Xlendi Road, Gozo. A close family friend, Toni Ann Muscat, insisted that no one should drive under the influence of alcohol, as doing so can ruin someone else’s life.Muscat said that four years ago, Jessica’s family and friends lost a big part of their lives, in a post on Facebook group ‘Gozone’ where she reiterated that everyone should respect the speed limits.Jessica was involved in a fatal car crash on 19 April 2015, during the early hours of the morning. On that fateful day, Jessica was a passenger in a car when it was involved in a collision with a car that was being driven by a 20-year-old man from Għasri who was driving on the wrong lane. The 20-year-old had later graduated as a Police Officer, but was sacked immediately after, sources told The Malta Independent. Muscat referred to politicians discussing the permanent link between the islands, widening roads and increasing the population, however she observed that there is not much discussion on making roads safer.J.E.S.S – Helping to create safer roadsOne year after Jessica’s death, a voluntary organisation was established in her honour. J.E.S.S (Justice to Ensure Safer Streets) educates the public about the importance of road safety. It also ensures that laws are amended in a way to ensure safety.In 2017, the organisation donated two sets of breathalyzers to the Gozo Police.Read: Breathalysers in Gozo used once a monthIn replies given to, the Police in Gozo had told this newsroom that the breathalyzers were used six times in 2018. The Police had explained that for the first six months of 2018, there were a total of 23 roadblocks with 20 persons were found in breach of the law. WhatsApplast_img read more

Google Uganda launches two new local languages

first_imgAdvertisement  The languages were launched as part of an ongoing volunteer program known as Googlein-Your-Language, which is designed to give anyone the tools to translate Google services into languages in which they are fluent.Thanks to this program, as well as Google’s other efforts to localize products, the Google homepage itself now appears in more than 100 languages. – Advertisement – In the case of these two new Ugandan languages, a group of IT and language students at Makerere, professional translators and journalists, led by Makerere IT staff member Florence Tushabe, came together to translate and review over 10,000 English words.“A group of 30 people took part in intense discussions that culminated in the formulation of new words and the adaptation of existing ones to represent the technical computing jargon. It was very fulfilling”, said Florence, speaking about some of the challenges involved.Dean of IT faculty at Makerere University, Dr. Josephine Nabukenya, speaking at the launch remarked, “It is estimated that only 10% of Uganda is computer literate. Local language versions of technology, such as in Google Search, will reduce this intimidation and allow wider group to interact more freely with the internet, eventually leading to increased publishing in local languages”.Denis Gikunda, Project Manager at Google said “It is truly exciting to see a group of people so passionate about technology and their native languages. This initiative is a great example of how the internet encourages user participation from cultural and linguistic communities.”Google continues to adapt its products for local users across Africa, whilst meeting international standards, and plans to increase local language support to more products. In addition to 5 Ugandan languages, Google previously launched Trader, an SMS classifieds service and SMS Health Tips, with Uganda selected as the pilot country globally.But some people have questions about “Runyakitara” as not being a natural language. They claim it was set up by Makerere University for academic purposes.last_img read more

MTNs We Believe Video Contest Winner Receives Ushs 10 Million in Cash

first_imgAdvertisement MTN Uganda recently provided Ugandans with the opportunity to win Ushs 10 million in cash by simply developing and shooting a music video using the official MTN Uganda Cranes song – ‘We believe’; On Wednesday, 25th September 2013, MTN handed over the Grand Prize to Mr. Vincent Sekyanzi who emerged as the overall winner after a thorough judging exercise.Launched in August, the contest attracted several entries from enthusiastic Ugandans who saw the initiative as an opportunity to demonstrate their creativity and get rewarded for it. The competition ran from the 21st of August to the 30th of August 2013 and clearly demonstrated Uganda’s ability to work under severe pressure delivering quality results.Handing over the Grand prize money, MTN’s Chief Marketing Officer, Mr. Ernst Fonternel said the contest is one way in which MTN is leading the delivery of a bold, new Digital World by offering customers the ability to produce digital music videos for upload onto Youtube and to get exposure to our more than 190,000 Social Media fans. By offering World-class connectivity, all Ugandans will now be able to view Vincent’s video and also aspire to take part in the numerous exciting offers, competitions and promotions that MTN continue to bring to the market. “We hope that this win plus the prize money opens many doors of opportunity for Vincent. With over 1,300 views of his video on MTN’s Youtube channel, I believe Mr. Sekyanzi’s professional ambitions have been greatly boosted and MTN continues to succeed on our mission of making our customers’ lives a whole lot brighter.” – Advertisement – “With so many views in just over one week, it demonstrates the communication power of social media and MTN is making sure we are getting part of the action. Through Social media we are leading the delivery of a bold, new Digital World to our customers to make their lives a whole lot brighter”  Fonternel concluded.The winner was chosen by a special panel of advertising experts who considered creativity and originality of the video idea as part of the selection criteria.On his part, Sekyanzi thanked MTN Uganda for coming up with the music video contest saying, “This promotion gave creative Ugandan minds, the opportunity to put their creativity to use. I’m confident that fellow contestants came up with very interesting videos, from which MTN Uganda chose mine. I’m therefore grateful and honored to have won in what I’m sure was a very close contest”Sekyanzi appealed to other Ugandan companies to pick a leaf from MTN Uganda, and use their businesses to promote innovation by creating opportunities for people to put their talent in practice.last_img read more

Alliance for Affordable Internet launches to stimulate global policy reform

first_imgAdvertisement Global sponsors Google, Omidyar Network, UK DFID and USAID joined by a host of governments, tech companies and civil society organisations from developed and developing countries in launch of new initiative, backed by Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee.Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) executive director, Sonia JorgeToday, a diverse group of private and public sector players came together to launch the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), a coalition to lead policy and regulatory reform and spur action to drive down artificially high internet prices in developing countries. By advocating for open, competitive and innovative broadband markets, A4AI aims to help access prices fall to below 5% of monthly income worldwide, a target set by the UN Broadband Commission. Reaching this goal can help to connect the two-thirds of the world that is presently not connected to the internet (source: ITU) and make universal access a reality.A4AI’s 30+ members reach across boundaries of geography, industry, and organisation type and include governments, companies, and civil society organisations from both developed and developing countries. Members share a belief that that policy reform, underpinned by robust research and genuine knowledge-sharing, is one of the best ways to unlock rapid gains in internet penetration rates. The Alliance was initiated by the World Wide Web Foundation, and its honorary chairperson is Dr. Bitange Ndemo, the immediate former Permanent Secretary of Kenya’s Ministry of Information and Communications, who is widely regarded as the father of Broadband in Kenya. – Advertisement – A4AI has a strong focus on action and announced the following plans today at the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation’s Annual Forum in Abuja, Nigeria, witnessed by communications ministers, policy makers and industry leaders from around the globe:The Alliance will begin in-country engagements with three to four States by the end of 2013, expanding to at least twelve countries by the end of 2015.Members have committed to a set of policy best practices (enclosed) that will guide advocacy work at the international level. Key policy levers to drive prices down include allowing innovative allocation of spectrum, promoting infrastructure sharing, and increasing transparency and public participation in regulatory decisions.A4AI will produce an annual ‘Affordability Report’, with the first edition being unveiled in December 2013. “The reason for the Alliance is simple – the majority of the world’s people are still not online, usually because they can’t afford to be,” said Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web and founder of the World Wide Web Foundation.“In Mozambique, for example, a recent study showed that using just 1GB of data can cost well over two months wages for the average citizen,” he added.“The result of high prices is a widening digital divide that slows progress in vital areas such as health, education and science. Yet with the advent of affordable smartphones, new undersea cables and innovations in wireless spectrum usage, there is simply no good reason for the digital divide to continue. The real bottleneck now is anti-competitive policies and regulations that keep prices unaffordable. The Alliance is about removing that barrier and helping as many as possible get online at reasonable cost,” concluded Sir Tim Berners-Lee.Dr. Bitange Ndemo, honorary chairperson of A4AI, added:“In Kenya, we saw the number of internet users more than double in a single year after we liberalised markets. Now we need to spark the same revolution on broadband costs and access, not only in my country but around the world. To achieve this, we will use our combined voices, leadership and expertise to press for fair, competitive and socially responsible markets.”Quotes from Global Sponsors of A4AIJennifer Haroon, Access Principal at Google, said: “Nearly two out of every three people don’t have access to the Internet – this is a massive challenge that can’t easily be solved by a single solution or player. The world needs technical innovation and vision to bring more people online, but we also need a strong policy foundation that allows new ideas to flourish. By working alongside Alliance partners, we can help lay the groundwork needed to drive innovation and bring the power of the Internet to more people.”Ory Okolloh, director of investments, Omidyar Network, added: “The lack of affordable internet access in emerging markets is a key barrier to large-scale innovation, which in turn stifles social and economic advancement. Omidyar Network is delighted to help lead the formation of the Alliance for Affordable Internet to address this problem. The Alliance has the potential to help millions of people in the developing world come online, unlocking opportunities for them to access information and services that can meaningfully improve their lives.”Dr. Rajiv Shah, administrator of USAID said:“The growing digital divide is a global issue that can only be tackled collaboratively, and we are thrilled to be working with the diverse and committed group of the Alliance for Affordable Internet to enable even the most remote and impoverished communities to access the wealth of knowledge and connection that exists in the digital world.”Professor Tim Unwin, Secretary General, CTO’s:“In a world where information sharing and communication is increasingly dominated by the internet, it is essential that everyone should have access to it at prices they can afford.  The rapid expansion of all types of ICTs is nevertheless currently leading to ever-greater inequalities in the world, and so the creation of the Alliance for Affordable Internet is timely and important. By working together in carefully crafted partnerships, we can seek to redress this balance and turn rhetoric into reality.” Download the Full List of Alliance Members: read more

ZTE Launches the water proof LTE enabled GH800

first_imgAdvertisement ZTE Corporation, on saturday launched the GH800, an LTE-enabled large-screen smart-broadband trunking mobile handset, at GITEX TECHNOLOGY WEEK in Dubai.It has a 4-inch 480×800 WVGA LCD multi-point touch capacitive screen and can be submerged in water up to a metre deep for about 30 minutes without disrupting its performance.It has shock and vibration absorption and the capacity to withstand solar radiation, making it highly reliable, especially in extreme environments. – Advertisement – The GH800’s LTE-enabled GoTa 4G intelligent platform and customised secure operating system supports wireless broadband, near field communication and global positioning.The GH800 can facilitate the efficient running of multimedia trunking applications and provides an improved user experience for people working in challenging environments, making it ideal for use in a large number of industries including government, public security, transportation, logistics, oil, electricity, mining, factories and other enterprises and institutions.“LTE is the mainstream choice for 4G network construction. The successful launch of mature commercialised terminals such as the GH800 consolidates our position as leaders in the LTE market,” says Miao Wenguang, Marketing Director at ZTE.multimedia services.Source: itp.netlast_img read more

SolarNow SunFunder Announce 9M Debt Financing to Reach 17500 Customers in Uganda

first_imgAdvertisement Solar energy company, SolarNow has announced raising $9 million in debt arranged by SunFunder, a longtime debt financier for the company alongside co-lenders responsAbility and Oikocredit.The $9 million facility is SolarNow’s third structured asset finance instrument, or SAFI, arranged by SunFunder. It will enable the company to deploy 17,500 new off-grid solar systems to customers in Uganda, along with a range of appliances.SolarNow CEO Willem Nolens commented: “This syndication and the SAFI structure allow us to minimize the fundraising burden and to focus on our business instead. By selecting the right clients and treating them well, our credit portfolio remains healthy and we create a strong foundation for sustainable growth.” – Advertisement – This new investment also marks the 5th anniversary of SolarNow’s partnership with SunFunder, and their debt facility together as well as the second time that Oikocredit and a responsAbility-managed private debt fund have participated with SunFunder to finance the company, after a similar $6m syndication 14 months ago.According to the announcement, the new systems will amount to around 2.5MW of new installed off-grid solar capacity, resulting in over 210,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions avoided through displaced kerosene for lighting.As far as impact is concerned, SolarNow estimates that over 70,000 women will gain improved energy access in Uganda. Oikocredit’s Renewable Energy Manager David ten Kroode commented: “Their [SolarNow’s] strategy of offering a wide range of solar products and services to energy-poor communities is perfectly aligned with Oikocredit’s mission to help alleviate poverty by improving access to energy.”The SAFI product is a tailored receivables financing structure designed by SunFunder for solar companies deploying systems through pay-as-you-go and solar leasing models. SAFI finances their credit offerings directly, allowing them to reach more customers.[related-posts]last_img read more


first_img[dropcap]W[/dropcap]elcome to Starters Orders. Our daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Wednesday 1 JanuaryRACING1.35 MusselburghUpsilon Bleu 4/1 > 11/41.55 CheltenhamFlorafern attracting interest at 10’s3.10 SouthwellExceeding Power 7/4 > 11/10What’s your view?CALL STAR SPORTS ON 08000 521 321last_img


first_imgHORSE RACING3.00 HaydockJust Hiss 9/1 > 6/17.10 LingfieldQueens Royale 8/1 > 11/4 Stopdworldnletmeof 22/1 > 7/17.30 KilbegganA Rated 10/1 > 6/18.50 AyrQuestion Of Faith 12/1 > 8/1PREMIER LEAGUEPremier League12:30 Sky Sports Premier League / Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Ultra HD4/1 Watford 8/15 Liverpool 11/4 DRAWPremier League17:30 BT Sport 1 / BT Sport 4K UHD9/1 Brighton & Hove Albion 1/3 Man City 9/2 DRAWBET WITH STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321 [dropcap]W[/dropcap]elcome to Starters Orders. Our daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Saturday 12 Augustlast_img read more

SIMON NOTT Was what Ed said Balls

first_img[dropcap]T[/dropcap]here has been some conversation on social media on what ITV’s Ed Chamberlin said at the Gimcrack dinner then reported in the Racing Post. In a nutshell it wasn’t controversial at all, just common sense, racing needs to modernise and attract new people. It’s pretty obvious that if it doesn’t it’s going to be in serious trouble in a generation.People on-line have been screaming the place down saying that events held at racecourse on the same day as racing don’t attract people that are interested in racing, it dilutes the sport and deters ‘real racing fans’ from attending. It’s actually not new, if you go back far enough in racing history it soon becomes apparent that in the (very) old days, ‘race day’ was an all-encompassing jolly up for the entire community. A lost of towns came to a halt with a public holiday for all. The races went ahead as did a whole lot of other stuff did in parallel, something for everyone. It would probably be to the detriment of local business if Southwell followed suit with the holidays, but you know what I’m saying.Back to the concerts, I always thought that they were a good idea, they certainly get people into a racecourse that wouldn’t have thought about going racing otherwise, bingo. However, the original conception was to then try and sell racing to those people once they were in, but it doesn’t seem to happen. To the contrary, I have heard racecourse announcers almost apologetically inform patrons that ‘there are only three races to go before the concert’. People need to be engaged, depending on the act booked and that is where racecourses need to think carefully too, different angles need to be used. If for argument’s sake a teeny bopper band are booked then gambling can’t be the main incentive, nor drink, surely the latter should never be. The excitement of a horse race can still be instilled in those under 18’s. It needs to be treated as an investment for the future. How about something simple like each kid on arrival has to pick a horse in the feature race, those that pick the winner then go into a free draw for a couple of them to meet the band backstage? Something along those lines? I’m sure it wouldn’t take much brainstorming to come up with a more sophisticated idea than mine. One thing is for sure, there should be discounted non-band tickets for racegoers who are interested and bookmakers that don’t benefit from racegoers that don’t bet.I wrote about attracting the nightclub set and the habits they bring with them at weekends previously here sentiments haven’t changed. Instead of plying them with booze, getting them to bet with the bookies or fair’s fair (they’ll soon realise where the value lies) the Tote should they wish, should be the way forward. Don’t give them free pints but free punts, the bookies/tote to be squared up afterwards, at least then some interest has been taken by the new racegoer in actually looking at the horse names and the mechanics of having a bet. I’m not so sure that for a first timer fan-faring of jockeys and talking heads giving their expert opinion would be of much value. Of course, that’s open for debate, though certainly not the latter, giving people, an instant inferiority complex isn’t the way forward and something lost on some in the industry. Everyone who has now classed themselves as a ‘real racing fan’ will remember the day they first went racing, or their first trip to the betting shop that hooked them. Let’s pool those ideas and see if there’s an angle there.To conclude, Ed’s not talking balls he is talking sense. Racing has a massive amount to offer. Where do you start? It’s got colour, excitement, characters, glamour, world class sport, adrenaline on tap and was ahead of its time as a social melting pot. Where else can you go in the UK even and (almost) rub shoulders with the Queen. Racing should be a PR company’s wet dream. Racing needs to get a decent tank together and put their brand publicity up for tender. A top-class PR company, in no way racing affiliated, should be able to transform the image and fortunes of the sport and relish the challenge of doing so. There’s so much to sell, PR gurus form an orderly queue.Simon NottSimon Nott is author of Skint Mob!: Tales from the Betting RingCLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILSlast_img read more

Barnett Named Chair of Rice Board of Governors

first_imgAddThis ShareContact: Kathryn Costello Vice President University Advancement (713) 527-4650 Michael Cinelli Director, News Office(713) 831-4794 BARNETT NAMED CHAIR OF RICE BOARD OF GOVERNORSE. William “Bill” Barnett, managing partner of the Baker & Botts law firm, has been chosen as chair ofthe Rice University Board of Governors effective July 1, 1996. Barnett, 63, will succeed Charles W. Duncan, Jr., who is retiring after serving as board chair for the past 14 years at the private university. During this time, Duncan successfully led the effort to strengthen and enhance the university’s national andinternational reputation.“Bill Barnett will be a distinguished and able chairman,” Duncan said. “He brings broad experience, a thoughtful approach, a great deal of knowledge about Rice and, importantly, a deep commitment to the university. He is a Rice graduate who has demonstrated excellent leadership capabilities. I believe Rice will continue to prosperunder his chairmanship.” Rice President Malcolm Gillis said, “The selection of Bill Barnett ensures a high degree of continuity with the immensely successful chairmanship of Charles Duncan. Charles’ years as board chair have been extremely fruitful. His tenure was marked by notabledevelopments that will shape the future of Rice for decades to come. Not least of these was Rice’s 1985 admission to the Association of American Universities, the highly influential organization of top echelon research universities. Rice University will be forever inhis debt.“Bill Barnett brings to the chair a deep knowledge of and affection for his alma mater, along with a well-developed appreciation of the university’s very substantial potentialities in teaching and research in the coming century,” Gillis added. “No university has had a more distinguished succession of board chairsthan Rice. Bill Barnett is squarely in that elite company.” Barnett received his B.A. from Rice in 1955 and his LL.B. in 1958 from the University of Texas at Austin. He has led a distinguished career as an attorney and as a civic leader. He is former chairman of the Antitrust Section of the American Bar Association and is a fellow of the American College of TrialLawyers. He is past chairman and current board member of the Greater Houston Partnership, past chairman and current board member of Central Houston, Inc., and serves on the board of directors of Texas Commerce Bancshares. He is a trustee of Baylor College of Medicine and is a life trustee of the University of Texas Law SchoolFoundation. Barnett joined the Rice Board of Governors in 1991 as a term member. He was elected a trustee in 1994. He is also a contributing life member of the Rice Associates, a member of the Rice UniversityFund Council, and a member of the Friends of Fondren.“I am honored by this opportunity,” Barnett said. “If one looks at the history of Rice, three chairmen stand out as truly great- Capt. James A. Baker, George R. Brown and Charles Duncan. Charles is an imposing act to follow, but he has positioned the university very favorably. Within the last few years, particularly with the arrival of Malcolm Gillis, Rice is moving more aggressively toward an international presence, the faculty in several areas are on the cutting edge, and the student body is as strong as any university inthe country. This is a very exciting time to be involved at Rice.” During Duncan’s tenure as board chair the university’s endowment has grown to $1.7 billion from $434 million.Since 1983 nine buildings have been added to the campus landscape or are currently under construction: George R. Brown Hall, Alice Pratt Brown Hall, Herring Hall, the Mudd Building, the Mechanical Engineering Building, the Computational Engineering Building, the future home of the James A. Baker III Institute forPublic Policy, the building that will house the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology, and the campus police building. Barnett is married to Peggy Mauk Barnett, a 1955 Rice graduate. They have two children, Margaret Ann Barnett Stern and Edward William Barnett, Jr., both of Houston.The Rice Board of Governors is comprised of seven trustees, eight term governors and four alumni governors. There are also seven trustee emerti and 47 governor advisors. ###last_img read more

Rice University to host An Evening with Mignon R Moore

first_imgAddThis ShareDavid Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduAmy Hodges713-348-6777amy.hodges@rice.eduRice University to host ‘An Evening with Mignon R. Moore’Author, sociologist to discuss race, class, sexual orientation at Feb. 1 lectureAuthor and sociologist Mignon Moore will discuss how gay identities, relationships and motherhood shape the lives of black women when Rice University hosts “An Evening with Mignon R. Moore” Feb. 1 at 6 p.m.What: “An Evening with Mignon R. Moore.”When: 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1.Where: Room 100 in Rice University’s Herring Hall, 6100 Main St.Moore is an associate professor of sociology at the University of California-Los Angeles and author of “Invisible Families: Gay Identities, Relationships and Motherhood Among Black Women.”. A reception and book signing will follow the lecture.The event will be co-sponsored by Race Scholars at Rice, part of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research, Rice’s Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality, Rice’s Department of Sociology, OutSmart magazine, KPFT’s “Queer Voices” and the Houston Public Library.For more information, visit To schedule an interview or obtain media credentials, contact Amy Hodges at 713-348-6777 or a map of Rice University’s campus, go to Institute for Urban Research: read more

Study Ocean acidification already slowing coral reef growth

first_imgAddThis Share3David Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduJade Boyd713-348-6778jadeboyd@rice.eduStudy: Ocean acidification already slowing coral reef growthExperiment dials back clock to test ocean reef growth in preindustrial conditions HOUSTON — (Feb. 25, 2016) — An international team of scientists from the Carnegie Institution for Science, Rice University and other institutions has performed the first experiment to manipulate seawater chemistry in a natural coral-reef community to determine the effect that excess carbon dioxide released by human activity is having on coral reefs.The research, which is published in this week’s issue of Nature, was conducted in a lagoon on the southern Great Barrier Reef in Australia in 2014. By controlling the alkalinity on a portion of the reef, the team was able to examine how fast the reef is growing today and compare that with growth rates in less acidic conditions that existed prior to the Industrial Revolution.By controlling the alkalinity on a portion of the Great Barrier Reef, a team that included Rice University BioSciences researcher Kai Zhu was able to examine how fast the reef is growing today and compare that with growth rates in less acidic conditions that existed prior to the Industrial Revolution.“Our work provides the first strong evidence from experiments on a natural ecosystem that ocean acidification is already causing reefs to grow more slowly than they did 100 years ago,” said study lead author Rebecca Albright, a marine biologist in Carnegie’s Department of Global Ecology in Stanford, Calif. “Ocean acidification is already taking its toll on coral reef communities. This is no longer a fear for the future; it is the reality of today.”The research team included Rice’s Kai Zhu, an expert in ecological statistics who joined Rice as a Huxley Faculty Fellow in the Department of BioSciences in January following a postdoctoral appointment at Carnegie’s Department of Global Ecology.“The data analysis for the experiment was complicated by the natural variation of conditions in the reef,” Zhu said. “Statistically speaking, there was a great deal of noise in the data, and as scientists we needed to filter out the noise so that we could examine only the signal, the change in the growth rate that resulted from the change in alkalinity.”Zhu designed a statistical model that was capable of quantifying the variation that occurred both naturally — in a portion of the reef that was measured as an experimental control — and as a result of the experiment. The data showed that the reef grew about 7 percent faster when seawater acidity approximated that of preindustrial conditions.The carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere from fossil-fuel consumption acts as a greenhouse gas and negatively impacts the world’s oceans, said Carnegie’s Ken Caldeira, the study’s lead scientist. Ocean impacts of carbon dioxide are partially due to overall warming caused by climate change. But in addition, most atmospheric carbon dioxide is eventually absorbed by oceans and reacts with seawater to form an acid that is corrosive to coral reefs, shellfish and other marine life. This process is known as “ocean acidification.”Kai ZhuCaldeira said coral reefs are particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification, because reef architecture is built by the accretion, or buildup, of calcium carbonate through a process called calcification. Calcification becomes increasingly difficult as acid concentrations increase and the surrounding water’s pH decreases. Scientists have predicted that reefs could begin dissolving within the century if acidification continues and reefs switch from carbonate accretion to carbonate dissolution.Previous studies have demonstrated large-scale declines in coral reefs over recent decades. Work from another team led by Caldeira found that rates of reef calcification were 40 percent lower in 2008 and 2009 than they were during the same season in 1975 and 1976. But it has been difficult to pinpoint exactly how much of the decline is due to acidification and how much is caused by warming, pollution and overfishing.In the current study, the team manipulated the alkalinity of seawater flowing over a reef flat off Australia’s One Tree Island. They brought the reef’s pH closer to what it would have been in the preindustrial period based on estimates of atmospheric carbon dioxide from the era. They then measured the reef’s calcification in response to this pH increase. They found that calcification rates under these manipulated preindustrial conditions were about 7 percent higher than they are today.Caldeira said some researchers have proposed increasing the alkalinity of ocean water around coral reefs through geoengineering to save shallow marine ecosystems. The results of the new study show that this idea could be effective, but he said it would likely be impractical to implement on all but the smallest scales.“The only real, lasting way to protect coral reefs is to make deep cuts in our carbon dioxide emissions,” Caldeira said. “If we don’t take action on this issue very rapidly, coral reefs — and everything that depends on them, including both wildlife and local communities — will not survive into the next century.”Additional study co-authors include Carnegie’s Lilian Caldeira, Lester Kwiatkowski, Jana Maclaren (also of Stanford University), Yana Nebuchina, Julia Pongratz (now at Max Planck Institute for Meteorology), Katharine Ricke, Kenny Schneider (now at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem) and Marine Sesboue; as well as Jessica Hosfelt and Aaron Ninokawa of the University of California, Davis; Benjamin Mason of Stanford University; Tanya Rivlin of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Kathryn Shamberger of both Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Texas A&M University; and Kennedy Wolfe of the University of Sydney.The research was supported by the Carnegie Institution for Science and the Fund for Innovative Climate and Energy Research.-30-High-resolution IMAGES are available for download at: Kai Zhu(Photo by Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)Additional photos are available at: video about the research is available at: DOI of the Nature paper is:10.1038/nature17155A copy of the paper is available at: Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,910 undergraduates and 2,809 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for best quality of life and for lots of race/class interaction by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to read more