Senior figures in the Labour and Green parties hav

first_imgSenior figures in the Labour and Green parties have pledged to introduce a national, free, needs-led system of support, after a report showed that the Independent Living Fund’s (ILF) closure resulted in “substantial” cuts to disabled people’s care packages.Inclusion London’s report – One Year On: Evaluating The Impact Of The Closure Of The Independent Living Fund – was launched in parliament this week as part of the Rights Not Games week of action planned by Disabled People Against Cuts to coincide with the start of the Rio 2016 Paralympics.The report includes analysis of freedom of information responses received by Inclusion London from each of the capital’s 33 local authorities, which show vast differences in the proportion of former ILF recipients whose packages have been cut after the fund’s closure.In Waltham Forest, 68 per cent of former ILF-users had their support cut, while 58 per cent saw their package reduced in Hounslow, 56 per cent in Newham, 51 per cent in Havering, 42 per cent in Merton and 36 per cent in Lewisham, while in 10 boroughs no former recipients had their packages reduced.In all, about 185 former ILF recipients in London have seen their support cut so far, about one in seven.Brian Hilton, the former ILF recipient who chaired the launch meeting, said closing the fund in June 2015 had “sent a clear message to disabled people and an equally clear message to society that we are a burden and we are an unacceptable expense”.He said the report shows that some disabled people are having their support “slashed in half”, and having night-time care removed.He said: “Unless there is a change in policy or direction, it is going to result in more and more disabled people becoming prisoners in our own home, or forced into residential care.”Among its recommendations, the report calls for a new national, needs-led system, independent of local authorities, to administer independent living support, which is free at the point of delivery and funded by taxation.The report also includes the experiences of some former ILF recipients from outside London.One of them told the report’s researchers: “Apparently all I need is to be clean and fed.“My County Council will only pay for ‘hands on personal care’ which can all be condensed into a couple of hours a day.“I don’t have the right to expect any quality of life or a clean home. I will be kept all clean and shiny but if my home is a cesspit that doesn’t matter.”Jonathan Bartley, the newly-elected co-leader of the Green party, who took on the job-share role because of his own caring responsibilities for his disabled son, told the launch meeting that his party would support “every recommendation in this report”.In an emotional speech, that more than once left him close to tears, he praised the “outstanding” report, which detailed “real lives, real stories, real families”, and said that it was “just not acceptable for a government to do what it is doing”. Bartley, who was making his first official appearance as co-leader, told the meeting: “I see my 14-year-old son and his fight and it scares me.“You’re going to be a prisoner in your own home [and] I fear that’s what’s going to happen to my son.”Labour’s shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, who has consistently spoken out against the ILF closure and other cuts to disabled people’s support, told the meeting that the report was “unchallengeable”.He said that the decision to shut the fund had forced disabled people into residential homes, and that central government was forcing local authorities to cut social care.McDonnell said he supported the report’s recommendations, which would provide the “basis” for a future Labour government’s policy on independent living support.After he was asked to do so by Bartley, McDonnell said he would write to Labour-run councils to ask them to ring-fence the grant that central government was giving councils to replace ILF funding, so that it was spent only on former ILF recipients.He said: “We will do that. We will talk to individual councils about how they can protect the funding here.“We know the pressure they are under. Just as importantly, we want to work with them to expose what central government is doing.”After the meeting, activists took part in a protest that moved down Whitehall, before disabled artists performed songs and poems in front of the gates of Downing Street.One of the performers, John Kelly, a former ILF recipient, said: “We are not asking for anything special. What we want is basic human rights.“The right to live an independent life is something everyone else can have and we want a bit of it back and we are not going away.“We are not going anywhere and independent living will live on.”Kelly called on the government to publish a report that has been compiled by the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities into alleged “systematic and grave violations” of the UN disability convention, which he said the government was “sitting on”.The Inclusion London report says there has been a “dramatic postcode lottery” in the support provided to former ILF recipients in London since the fund closed in June 2015, resulting in a “clear step backwards in independent living support” for disabled people.It says the fund’s closure had caused “distress and anxiety” and led to the removal of essential daily support.It adds: “Despite assurances to the contrary in the run up to June 2015, the closure of the ILF has directly resulted in the removal of support from Disabled people with high support needs.”And it says that where packages have been maintained at their previous level, this has only happened because local and national lobbying by disabled people had persuaded the government to promise four years’ of non-ring-fenced grants to local authorities.Only six boroughs told Inclusion London they were ring-fencing the government grant for former ILF recipients, while 18 said they were ring-fencing it to adult social care, and five said they were not ring-fencing it at all.The report concludes: “The postcode lottery of support provision this research reveals is simply not acceptable.“Disabled People’s independence, choice and control should not be dependent on the choices, compromises and dealings of local politicians.”As well as a new, national system of support, the report also calls for an independent living taskforce, to be led by disabled people; the “urgent” introduction of a system to monitor how local authorities are implementing the Care Act; and for the government’s ILF grant to continue to be paid to local authorities (and to be ring-fenced for former ILF recipients) until a national, independent social care system is operational.ILF was funded by the Department for Work and Pensions, and by last year it was helping nearly 17,000 disabled people with the highest support needs to live independently.But ministers decided it should be scrapped, promising instead that nine months’ worth of non-ring-fenced funding would be transferred to councils in England and to devolved governments in Wales and Scotland, to cover the period from its closure last summer to April 2016.The Scottish government has since set up its own ILF for existing recipients in Scotland, while the Welsh government has set up a ring-fenced, local authority-run grant scheme that will run until at least 31 March 2017.The government announced in February that it would provide another four years of transition funding to local authorities in England in 2016-17 (£177 million), 2017-18 (£171 million), 2018-19 (£166 million) and 2019-20 (£161 million), but that the money would again not be ring-fenced.Picture: Former ILF recipient Nathan Davies, from north Wales, after the meetinglast_img read more

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The Department for Work and Pensions DWP is usin

first_imgThe Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is using lost appointment letters for face-to-face assessments as an excuse for turning down disabled people’s benefit claims, to help it cut spending on social security, it has been claimed.Concerns have been raised about both the government’s new personal independence payment (PIP) – which helps meet a person’s disability-related costs – and employment and support allowance (ESA), the out-of-work sickness and disability benefit.The concerns were raised with Disability News Service (DNS) after last week’s report detailing how DWP, and its private sector contractors Atos and Capita, were refusing to launch inquiries into widespread allegations of dishonesty by healthcare professionals paid to carry out PIP assessments.One leading activist, Roy Bard (pictured), a long-term recipient of disability living allowance (DLA), described this week how his financial support was suddenly removed because he missed an appointment for a PIP assessment he was never told about.He had been told he needed to apply for the new PIP, which is gradually replacing DLA for working-age claimants.After DWP initially appeared to have mislaid documents he sent as evidence for his claim – which he sent by recorded delivery – he eventually received a phone call from Atos asking why he had missed his face-to-face assessment.He told Atos he had never received a letter telling him to attend an assessment, and made the same reply a few days later when Atos called him again.Bard then received a letter telling him his DLA had been stopped, and that his PIP claim had been cancelled.When he complained, he was told a text message reminder had been sent to his phone, but the mobile number it was sent to does not belong to him.Following an appeal – through DWP’s mandatory reconsideration process – he was told that DWP had overturned the decision to cancel his PIP claim, but would still not reinstate his DLA. He was told to wait for another assessment appointment.This decision meant he lost about £560 a month in DLA and severe disability premium, even though DWP had overturned its original finding that he had no good cause for missing the assessment.Bard, a leading member of the Mental Health Resistance Network, said his mental health had been seriously affected by the way his PIP claim had been dealt with, and he told DWP that this “amounts to maladministration and it has caused me considerable harassment, distress and alarm”.Soon after DNS contacted DWP about his case, Bard was told that his DLA had been reinstated and a new PIP assessment arranged for next week.But his case is not a one-off.Graeme Ellis (pictured), who founded the Lancaster-based social enterprise Here2Support, has told DNS that he received eight cases similar to Bard’s last week, some of them relating to PIP, and some affecting ESA claimants.All eight said they had had their benefits removed for not attending a face-to-face assessment, even though they had not received an appointment letter.In the last month, Ellis has been receiving one or two such cases a week, but last week that “just shot through the roof”.He believes these cases demonstrate a fresh DWP attempt to cut social security spending.Previously, he said, a claimant of disability benefits would be given another assessment if their appointment letter had gone missing.Now, said Ellis, they are finding – like Bard – that their claims are being cancelled.He believes that appointment letters are being sent out, but that DWP is being more “strict” if the letters go missing and claimants fail to turn up to their assessments.He said: “They are just dismissing the fact that people are saying they have not received the letter.“It’s about saving money. They see a way of knocking somebody off benefits.”He also pointed to another case as further evidence of a new, even harsher DWP regime.A woman who had not left her home in five years because of severe agoraphobia was denied a home PIP assessment – after years of claiming DLA – and then had her benefits removed when she failed to turn up to an assessment centre for her appointment.Ellis traces the start of a stricter ESA regime to April this year, and the implementation of controversial cuts of nearly £30 a week to payments made to new ESA claimants placed in the work-related activity group.Because a cancelled claim means someone has to start a new claim – even if they had previously been receiving ESA – DWP can then treat them as new claimants and cut their benefits by nearly £30 a week if they are placed in the WRAG.A DWP spokeswoman said the department was “not aware of multiple examples” of cases like Bard’s.She said: “We’ve made enquiries, and we are not aware of this being a widespread issue.”She said that suggestions that DWP was using such incidents as a way of forcing disabled people on ESA to make new claims and accept lower benefits if placed in the WRAG were “unfounded and not true”.She added: “[Bard] was sent a letter asking him to attend a face-to-face assessment.“Although a text message was sent to the number that we held for [him], further checks show that the assessment provider did not give sufficient notice for the assessment, so they’ve been asked to arrange a new appointment.“As the case had not been dealt with correctly on this occasion, we’ve informed [Bard] that his DLA will be reinstated.“The mobile number that the text message was sent to was a number we had held for some time.“As [Bard] has now stated that this is not his number, it has been removed from our records.”She added: “Every year we send out millions of letters, and fortunately incidents like this are rare.“When an administrative error does occur, we take action to ensure the claimant does not lose out on their benefits, as we have in [Bard’s] case.”last_img read more

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Mission District House Targeted by Wealthy Investors Could Become Affordable

first_img 0% A Mission District home on Folsom Street that is being targeted for an Ellis Act eviction backed by wealthy investors could become permanently affordable — on the off-chance that the new landlord of the property wants to sell.Mission Local reported earlier this week on a three-unit building at 2820 Folsom St. that was recently bought by Danny Sun, who raised some $1.64 million for the purchase of the house from several wealthy families. Sun served all 14 rent-controlled tenants at the building eviction notices earlier this year, and the tenants have hired a lawyer to fight their ouster.One of those families, the Levines, is also the named donor to the Howard and Irene Levine Program for Housing and Social Responsibility at the University of California, Los Angeles. They also run a tax-exempt charity organization with millions of dollars in assets and ties to a variety of Jewish and pro-Israel groups, like Birthright.At the same time, however, they gave $200,000 to Sun for the purchase of the house on Folsom Street and are expecting a full return on their investment with unspecified interest. Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%center_img Though the tenants have delayed their eviction for a year, they’re hoping to quash it completely with legal help in ferreting out improprieties in the paperwork.With City Funds, House Could Become Permanently AffordableThere is a chance, however fleeting, that the building at 2820 Folsom may be acquired by a non-profit and turned into permanent affordable housing.The Mission Economic Development Agency tried to do just that last year when it was being sold to Sun. Karoleen Feng, the director of community real estate with the neighborhood organization, said they tried to buy the building for $1.8 million last year — just above the eventual sale price of $1.72 million.Unfortunately, the landlord had already entered into a contract with Sun to sell the building and did not want to violate his deal, Feng said.“We put an offer in to the owner, and he was unable to get out of contract,” she said. “It was very unfortunate that we were unable to get in touch sooner.”“He was a great landlord,” added Tommy Seiler, a tenant. “He was just really old and he just cashed out.”MEDA has bought three small buildings in the Mission District under a two-year old city program that gives non-profits funds to acquire and rehab buildings, turning them into permanently affordable housing. The city rolled out another $20 million in funding for the so-called Small Sites Program from last November’s $350 million housing bond, and the Folsom Street building could one of the next acquired by MEDA — if the new landlord is willing to sell.“It makes it much more difficult because the new owner presumably wants to make some amount of money for the property,” Feng said. She hasn’t been in touch with the tenants since last year, but said she would look into the building and see whether purchasing the site is feasible.In the meantime, the tenants wait and watch. The landlord, Sun, can fight the one-year delay if he files paperwork by the end of the month, which would put tenants back on the defensive and mean their eviction could come as early as the end of July.Jason King, one of the tenants in the building, said the looming eviction has already strained house dynamics. Routine interactions with the landlord become difficult, he said, and the possibility that everyone will be forced out “makes it hard to establish and maintain the place as a home.”“Having a landlord that wants to evict you is a terrible position to be in,” he said. “You want to have a good relationship with your landlord.”And Seiler dreads the eviction. Having lived in the Mission District through the 1990s, the dot-com boom and bust, and now the latest wave of gentrification, he has trouble envisioning where he would go next and what he would do there.“It’s been my only home. I grew up in Ohio and I still have a lot of friends there, but it’s been 25 years in San Francisco and this is my home,” Seiler said. “Where do I go? Do I go to Portland? I don’t like Portland. There’s reasons that I moved to the Mission.”This is the third in a three-part series about the purchase of the building at 2820 Folsom St. and the eviction of its tenants. Part One: UCLA Philanthropists Fund Purchase Evicting Mission District Tenants, June 16Part Two: Mission District Tenants Fight Deep-Pocketed Ellis Act Eviction, June 17 last_img read more

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Five Alarm Fire Displaces Dozens at 29th and Mission

first_imgTheresa Keane, the owner of the 3300 Club, said it was the businesses’s 60th anniversary this year. Her family doesn’t own the building, she said, but family members have owned and worked in the bar for three generations.“We pray nobody gets hurt and that we can go back to work eventually,” she said.Fire @ 29/Mission has not been contained. Shelters are being erected for evacuees residents advised to close windows pic.twitter.com/PagQDJ8UjF— Mission Local (@MLNow) June 18, 2016Update 5:30 p.m.Assistant Chief Tom Siragusa said six buildings with eight addresses were affected and that 150 firefighters responded.“We do have areas within the building that continue to flare up,” he said. “We’re going to be here for a while.”Siragusa speculated that the fire may have spread so rapidly because of the prevailing wind and some broken windows in the burning buildings adding oxygen to the fire.“We haven’t had a fifth alarm in some time,” Siragusa said. The last was September 4, 2014, according to spokesperson Jonathan Baxter — a discount store on Mission Street between 22nd and 23rd streets.Rashawn Murray, the daughter of a resident in one of the affected buildings, said her mother had moved in 30 days ago after being homeless for three years.“My heart is aching for her and everyone who is standing out here,” Murray said.Update 6:05 p.m.The Red Cross is assisting displaced tenants in finding temporary shelter, and will send many of them to the Salvation Army’s Mission Corps Community Center, where displaced residents of the fire at Mission and 22nd streets were also sheltered in the weeks following that fire.In fact, Jose Hernandez, one of the displaced residents from Saturday’s fire, was also a victim of the fire at Mission and 22nd streets.“I was working, my girlfriend was at home, she called me and she was all frustrated and I told her it’s not a big deal,” said Hernandez. “I didn’t realize how big this fire was. When I saw the smoke [I] panicked…My family lost everything at 22nd and Mission. This is like deja vu. I can’t believe this is happening to me again, but what can I do? I never give up.”Hernandez had been living at 29th and Mission for about three months.Luis Herrera, along with his wife and three children are among the displaced. Herrera said he was sleeping when his wife and a daughter returned from a shopping trip when they saw the smoke, but he himself was asleep.“I couldn’t believe that was our building on fire,” said Herrera’s daughter Genesis.Herrera had tried to put the fire out with water before the evacuation.“We have nowhere to go,” he said.Displaced residents of the Mission and 29th street fire. Photo by Lola M. ChavezUpdate 6:50 p.m.Firefighters reported that the fire had been contained. Nonetheless, firefighting activity continued and they predicted the area would likely remain closed to vehicle traffic until Sunday morning, and closed to pedestrian traffic until late into the night.All 40 displaced residents would reportedly be transferred to a shelter temporarily.Update 7:51 p.m.A spokesperson for Mayor Lee said the mayor would be meeting with affected businesses on Monday to discuss possible assistance through a small business fund, though details were not immediately available.Red Cross staff said the displaced tenants are expected to only be sheltered at the Salvation Army for 24 hours, though where they would be sent thereafter is unclear.In response to a number of inquiries from residents about cats and dogs in the building, fire department spokesperson Jonathan Baxter said that firefighters had a list of pets they would be on the lookout for, but none had yet been found.Asked about the frequency of residential fires in the Mission, Assistant Chief Tom Siragusa acknowledged that “the Mission has been hit hard with building fires,” but said he did not believe them to be related or connected.Editor’s Note: The best way to help victims of the fire is through cash donations to either the Red Cross or to the Salvation Army, according to city officials. There is also a gofundme campaign set up here via former supervisorial candidate and Frisco Five hunger striker Edwin Lindo.If you cannot donate cash and would like to give clothing, toiletries, or other items, a reporter from 48 Hills who has been with displaced residents has put together a list of items that families are requesting. If you can provide long-term housing to victims of the fire, please contact the Human Services Agency or Supervisor David Campos. Photo by Lola M. ChavezPhoto by Lola M. ChavezAt least 5 hoses forced water into the burning buildings. Photo by Anita O’BrienThe fire quickly spread to Cole’s Hardware, a neighborhood staple. Photo by Anita O’BrienPhoto by Lola M. Chavez If you would like to help victims of the fire, please visit our list of suggestions here.A five-alarm fire erupted at 3112 Mission St. shortly after 2 p.m. on Saturday, sending up a plume of smoke that could be seen around the city and affecting some six buildings around 29th and Mission streets. Firefighters said they had searched a number of buildings and had not found any victims.No major injuries to residents were reported, though two bystanders were treated for smoke inhalation. Some 58 tenants were displaced, 24 of whom sought temporary shelter in the Salvation Army. The rest were housed with family or friends.Several of the displaced were formerly homeless, and one family had been displaced by the 2015 fire on Mission and 22nd streets. Nine businesses were suffered either fire or water damage. Kathy Castro, a bartender at the 3300 Club, said that somebody shouted to her that the building was on fire and that she got everyone in the bar — some seven people — out.“I got all the customers out, shut off the electricity, gave the keys to firefighters,” she said. “I looked up and it was at the very end of our building, it was a lot of black smoke.”Castro said that was soon as everyone was out, the wind shifted and “that was the horrible part.”“It took over and it went right down the street,” she said, referring to the fire going between buildings southbound on Mission Street.“There were firetrucks all of the sudden,” said Nabeel Youssef, the owner of Good Frikin Chicken across from the building on 29th Street. “And then everything blows up.”The empty floors above Playa Azul restaurant, under reconstruction, burned fiercely and quickly. Photo by Anita O’Brien.A worker at Good Frikin Chicken, Bassent Gamea, said that there was an explosion in the apartments above the 3300 Club. “I heard the explosion was really loud, and then I saw flames,” she said, adding that she saw two residents evacuated.One of those residents, 81-year-old Nancy Lopez, said she “didn’t know what was going on” until she heard the fire alarms and a neighbor came and told her to evacuate. She left the building and then realized that her cat was still inside.“I was trying to get my cat but they didn’t let me [go back inside],” she said, adding that her cat is named “Kitty Babe.”Her granddaughter, Nola Medina, said she was worried about the pet but more concerned with her grandmother.“I’m worried about her cat, but I’m glad that my grandmother’s safe,” she said.81-year old resident of 29/mission building engulfed in smoke was safely evacuated but says her cat is still inside pic.twitter.com/MjvlD1aWs9— Mission Local (@MLNow) June 18, 2016Hillary Ronen, chief of staff for Supervisor David Campos, told the displaced residents waiting for news in a Safeway parking lot that a shelter was being set up tonight at the Salvation Army on Valencia Street near 22nd. She also said that Campos’s office would help them with finding housing and “any needs that you have.”“Our office will be here to help you with the whole process from here forward,” she said. — Mission Local (@MLNow) June 18, 2016Firefighters advised anyone who lives within a five block radius the area to shelter in place and to shut their windows due to heavy smoke. Anybody in the affected buildings was asked to meet at the Bank of America on Mission Street near the intersection with 29th Street.Initially the fire appeared to involve just the building on the corner of Mission and 29th. Photo by Anita O’BrienFire department spokesperson Jonathan Baxter said the fire appeared to have originated near the back of the corner building at 29th and Mission — a three-story building with four apartments above a bar, the 3300 Club — though that was not yet confirmed.Mayor Ed Lee arrived on the scene shortly before 5 p.m. to reassure the affected residents that the city would do all it could to help them recover. Lee said he would invoke the Good Samaritan — which allows landlords to take in tenants at below-market-rates through a deal with the city — to help shelter the victims. He also said corporations like Airbnb could help shelter residents, though he did not say how.Mayor Lee listens to a victim of the fire. Photo by Lola M. ChavezJoseph Williams, a resident of the Graywood Hotel — a single-room occupancy hotel at 3308 Mission St. — said he saw the fire erupt. He and another resident, he said, were one of the first to notice it.“It was the wiring, we believe. We opened the fuse box and smoke started coming out. We seen flames coming out of the fuse box and then we seen the gas main starting to catch on fire,” Williams said.More spreading as the intense heat could be felt across the street. Photo by Anita O’BrienFirefighters have not yet indicated a cause of the fire.Williams, who was homeless before entering the SRO 30 days ago, was displaced along with his wife and child. He said sprinklers in the building did not activate.“One of the main things we’re concerned about is that the mayor’s here but that the owner of the building’s still not here,” Williams said.A building manager, who declined to give his name, said the building’s owner was out of the country.Another resident of the same building, Kimberley Walley, has lived there with her husband for some five years, and has also been homeless before.“They told us they will help us find a shelter, and I hope they do. I’ve been homeless, and now that I’m able to pay my rent on a daily basis I don’t want to go back to that,” Walley said. “We have nowhere to go. I pray that they do help us, because otherwise we will be out in the streets.”Photo by Lola M. Chavezcenter_img 0% Tags: displacement • Fires • housing Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img read more

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The Mission chooses the most perfect mole sauce

first_imgSan Francisco might have had the worst air quality in the world on Friday, but that didn’t keep 140 mole enthusiasts from attending the 15th annual “Mole to Die for” contest.First, let’s make sure we’re talking about the same thing. It’s mole, pronounced “moe-lay,” a sauce that is one of the staples of Mexican cuisine. It is made from a wide variety of chiles and spices, and it typically includes nuts and chocolate.There are probably as many variations of the sauce as there are stars in the universe, but on Friday, 17 cooks showcased their recipes at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts.Around 5:30 p.m., crockpots and clay pots, each with their own mole, made their arrival to the second floor of the cultural center, where each participant set up their area on a U-shaped set of tables. Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletter Such was the care given by the cooks and volunteers to each pot that it seemed they were handling a precious vessel recovered from an archeological dig.One of the contestants, María Mendoza, sat at the number 10 spot on the table, keeping guard over her mole as other contestants set up next to her.Contestants Maria Mendoza (far left) and Juan Antonio González (far right) wait alongside event volunteers before the start of the tasting. Photo by Pedro Cota.“It’s my first time participating,” said Mendoza. “A friend of mine told me about the event not too long ago. As the days got closer, I said, I’m going to do it.’” Mendoza dressed for the occasion by wearing her traditional black Mexican blouse embroidered with brightly colored flowers.It took four hours for Mendoza to prepare the sauce made from 15 to 20 ingredients. “Mole is very laborious,” she said, “there are many ingredients, and all of them have to be toasted.”She used her family’s mole ranchero recipe as the basis for her entry, but added her own twist. “Mole ranchero is usually very spicy, but I didn’t make it too spicy, thinking that there might be some people who don’t like spicy food. Maybe I made a mistake by doing that, but it’s already done,” she said.Next to Mendoza sat José Antonio González, contestant number nine, with a small, cylindrical stainless-steel pot. “It takes a lot of time to make, so I only made a little,” said González who worried the amount might not be enough for everyone to taste.“It’s an 80-year-old recipe,” he said. “My family had a restaurant in Mexico City for 80 years, and I kept the recipe.”The 51-year-old contestant said that he practically grew up in his family’s restaurant, Las Enchiladas on Niños Héroes Avenue in the Doctores neighborhood of the Mexican capital.Thanks to its mole, he said “It was very successful for many years.” He expected his entry to fare well on Friday night; whenever he has a big party, his friends ask, “Will there be mole?”It took three days for González to complete his recipe, because he doesn’t make mole into a paste like it’s typically done. “I make it into a powder, and I don’t have a grinder. In Mexico you use a grinder, but not here, so it’s very difficult to make,” said the first-time contestant.Gonzalez’s entry was a mole Poblano. “Poblano” means the recipe is from the Puebla region of Mexico, just 80 miles east of Mexico City. “It’s between sweet and spicy. The sweetness of the chocolate contrasts with the spiciness of the chile.”Another region that is known for its mole recipes is the state of Oaxaca, located on the southwestern coast of Mexico.“There are seven different types of recognized mole in Oaxaca, but we have two main ones: black and red,” said Isaí Cuevas, contestant number 12. “This time I made the red one or ‘coloradito.’”Cuevas, who is from a town called Zimatlán in the central valley of Oaxaca, proudly described the cultural importance of the dish in his home town.Contestant Isaí Cuevas from Zimatlán Oaxaca accompanied by his wife and daughter. Photo by Pedro Cota.“This is one of the moles I grew up with. In weddings, mole is served. The day after the wedding, mole is served again,” he said. “When someone dies, on the second day after the passing, the family will invite you to have ‘coloradito’ enchiladas for breakfast.”Cuevas, who moved to San Francisco 14 years ago, began working as a dishwasher at a restaurant. “I started to like the fast-paced activity of the cooks and I slowly got into the kitchen,” he said. Cuevas went on to become sous chef at Epic Steak restaurant under chef Jan Birnbaum, then became executive chef at Liverpool Lil’s.Cuevas attributes a lot of his success to his wife. “She played a very important role. She always pushed me to take risks and venture into being in charge of a restaurant.” Now they both own their own catering business called Tamalitos.Cuevas’ line of work came in handy when preparing for the event. “I have the fortune to work in an industrial kitchen,” he said. Despite this advantage, it took him all day to prepare his ‘coloradito’ sauce because “you have to toast every single item individually,” he said.His choice for ‘coloradito’ is a strategy based on its subtlety and versatility of flavors. “I like this one because, in my personal taste, the black mole is a little stronger in flavors and this one is lighter. You can eat it with practically anything.”Contrary to Cuevas, Maricela Martínez, contestant 14, opted for the black mole from Oaxaca. “This recipe is from the town where my husband is from. Huajuapan de León,” she said. “This mole is natural, almost organic. It has chile puya, guajillo, and the chocolate is made from scratch using cacao,” she added.Martínez who is a social worker in San José, said that once she retires she wants to dedicate herself to cooking Oaxacan food full-time.As Martínez made the finishing touches to her table, a battle was brewing next to her between Linette Morales and Jerry Lucas, contestants 15 and 16, respectively.“I was his assistant last year,” said Morales. “This year I said, you know what, I’m going to make my own. It’s the battle of the sexes,” she added jokingly. Morales dedicated two days to make her own version of the traditional mole rojo, or red mole. “It’s a family recipe. It’s savory and very secret, I can’t say more than that,” teased Morales.“Battle of the sexes” contenders Jerry Lucas and Linette Morales. Photo by Pedro Cota.Lucas, another professional chef with 25 years’ experience, has participated twice before and came in second place both times, with black and green moles. This time he made a variation of mole rojo presented in a 49ers crockpot that perfectly matched his outfit. “It’s an apricot and pine nuts mole,” said Lucas.“He stole some of my peppers,” interjected Morales, followed by a competitive, “Oh, it’s on!” that resonated across the large room.Across from Morales and Lucas, María Vazquez, contestant Number 5, was asked to step away from her mole and allow volunteer Martin Scott to watch over her spot. Cooks were not allowed to serve their mole — an effort to keep their charm from swaying the judges.As the cooks began to step away from their areas, the defending champion Antonio Perete, adjusted his molcajete, a volcanic rock mortar, filled with the raw ingredients used for his recipe as a decorative accent.“We make it like a hybrid,” said Perete of his mole. “It’s a mixture of Oaxacan mole and Puebla mole.”By 6:30 p.m., a line of about 50 people started to form at station number one. Each attendee received a tiny numbered plastic cup with each of the 17 sauces with hues that ranged from green, to dark black with reds and oranges in between. At the end of station 17, a volunteer handed out a tally sheet. “It’s a democratic process. Everybody will choose their top three choices,” said Guillermo Ornelas, the master of ceremonies for the night.“Ya nos corrieron” (they kicked us out of the tables), joked María Mendoza, the one who made her less-spicy version of mole ranchero. As she watched the crowd of people lining up to have a taste, she shared her thoughts on the event. “It’s very beautiful and important to learn different flavors of our Mexico,” she said. “I want to try all of them too. That’s what made me come here, to learn different things. I just think I’m going to have to wait until the end because there’s so many people,” she said.As people received their samples, they made their way to the back room where dining tables were set up.Toward the back of the room, Barry Becker and his partner Mario Cabrera, began making their selections.“So far, one, two, and a distant third six. But none are as good as his mother’s,” said Becker, pointing to Cabrera.“We have a very specific taste in mole,” added Becker, who said he and his partner have been coming to the event for 10 years. “Too sweet, it gets canceled. Too much chocolate, it gets canceled. If it doesn’t have enough of a kick, if it’s too American tasting, it gets canceled,” he added with a stern tone worthy of a professional food critic.Cabrera seemed to have a more playful approach to the tasting. “I like the spicy one, that will replace this one,” he said as he switched around his podium of moles.Becker continued with the rigorous process of elimination. “Ten is good,” he said and took another try of Mendoza’s mole ranchero.Oh my god! You see the consistency? It sticks together, but it still pours out. You can taste the cacahuates and almonds.”When asked if he would participate with his mother’s recipe, Cabrera said he would probably let Becker do it. “I’ll just pay people to tell him it’s really good,” he said. “We’ve talked about it,” replied Becker.Across from Becker and Cabrera, a group of young mole tasters talked to each other about their findings.One of them, Mauricio Yañez, is in the competition but refused to give out his contestant number. “I am not voting for my number. I am being fair,” he said.“I don’t even know what his number is,” said Darwin Cruz, who came to support Yañez.“I haven’t even told my friends which number is mine,” explained Yañez who didn’t want his friends to be biased.“This is grandma’s recipe,” he said of his mole. “It has a touch of xoconoztle (prickly pear),” he revealed. “It’s like when you use lemon to lift up the flavors, except lemon cuts the sauce, and xonocoztle doesn’t.”The rest of the guests filled the tasting room where they made their deliberations. Some sat on the tables in the room decorated with papel picado left over from a Day of the Dead exhibit, others preferred to sit with their group of friends on the floor.Between drinking Tecate and Corona beers, and eating beans, rice and chicken that was also sold at the event, the attendees filled out their ballots and dropped them in a clear lockbox. The dinner experience was highlighted by traditional music from the Mexican state of Veracruz played by Azúcarada, a duo that includes Monica Fimbrez and Cassandra Millspaugh.Attendees enjoyed mole samples, drinks and food in the event’s tasting room. Photo by Pedro Cota.For almost an hour, Fimbrez and Millspaugh played their small guitars called jaranas that make the distinctive sound of the son jarocho and, as is tradition, took turns singing each of the verses of their songs.As the votes were being counted, José Antonio González who used the recipe from his family’s restaurant acknowledged the stiff competition and reflected on possible next steps. “Maybe I came to share it at the wrong time with so many good moles,” he said as he tried one of his competitor’s entries. “I really want to keep this up. I’m trying to revive the recipe. It has already been around for 80 years and I want to pass it on to my children, so it can live up to 150 years or more I hope.”Isaí Cuevas, from Tamalitos catering, reflected on the importance of Latino labor in the food industry as he waited for the results. “Behind every great American chef, there is always a Latino background,” he said. He hopes that more Hispanic/Latino dishwashers are encouraged to grow in the business like he did. “I tell all Latinos that we need to change our mentality of conformity,” he added, noting that he tries show them that moving up is possible.Cuevas’ attention suddenly shifted to the master of ceremonies, who walked to the podium with the results in hand.The entire room listened attentively as Guillermo Ornelas announced the winners, starting with third place, which went to Antonia Alva. She accepted her $100 award and certificate with her young daughter.Only four votes made the difference between Alva and the defending champion, Antonio Perete who, this time, took second place and $200.Finally, after waiting for almost two-and-a-half hours, the winner of the 15th annual “Mole to Die for” contest was announced.It was the black mole from Oaxaca that took the $300 prize. Maricela Martínez was all smiles as she walked up with her 7-year-old son to accept her award.First place Maricela Martínez and son, second place Antonio Perete and third place Antonia Alva and daughter accept their awards. Photo by Pedro Cota. center_img Email Addresslast_img read more

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SAINTS have been supporting St Helens Autism Suppo

first_imgSAINTS have been supporting St Helens Autism Support – a local charity whose aim is to raise awareness of the condition in the town.The SAS held their third annual ball at the club recently and raised more than £6,000 on the night to help purchase iPads and provide support.Saints CEO Mike Rush said: “This is a local charity that is very close to my heart and one I, as well as the club, are delighted to be able to support.“I know personally how Autism can affect families and raising awareness as well as helping people to get support is vital.“The club is more than happy to support such a charity that is doing great work in the borough.”Saints’ game with Wakefield last season was dedicated to the charity which aims to specifically to assist those in the borough who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).The SAS wants to see every child diagnosed in the Town have access to an iPad or similar Tablet Device.Experts are finding that simple, carefully constructed apps are enabling affected children to feel safe and communicate more readily because the software is more predictable and ordered than human interaction.The number of children who are registered in St Helens has steadily increased and many of the people in attendance at the ball either have children or relatives who are affected by this condition.SAS has so far raised more than £30,000 with supporters completing cycling challenges from the battlefields of Belgium to St Helens, Galway to St Helens and most recently Saints (Southampton) to Saints (Northampton) and Saints (St.Helens R.F.C.).Nick Mussel of NS Connections donated two iPads on the night.He said: “St Helens Autism Support is a really great charity doing fantastic work in the St Helens area. I felt a strong connection to this charity as my own son was diagnosed with Autism back in 2011 when he was just three years old.“Having the opportunity to support the work of this charity through my O2 store in Ormskirk and supplying iPads to children with ASD through SAS gives them the technology to be able to communicate more effectively.“The ever growing community of people directly affected by Autism and their families can only benefit from the increase in awareness and the additional levels of emotional support gained by collaborations like this.“The benefits of iPads and similar technologies to help individuals on the spectrum is well documented and I suspect this is the start of many projects of which we can be involved with going forward.”SAS Chairman Tom Jackson (pictured) added: “I have children who have been diagnosed with ASD and have been overwhelmed by the support we have had so far in support of children in our Town who have a condition that most people would not recognise.“The donations so far will go a long way to improving their lives.”last_img read more

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ST HELENS Autism Support SaS have donated iPads

first_imgST HELENS Autism Support (SaS) have donated iPads to children in the town who suffer from the condition.As part of World Autism Awareness Day, the charity presented the items to Vincent Clarke and Marcus Strong at Sutton Manor Community Primary School.The tablets will benefit the children in their learning and development and the plan is donate more in the next few months.Saints have always been a supporter of SaS and Paul Wellens and CEO Mike Rush, who is patron of the charity, met the boys at the School.SaS sponsored Saints’ clash with Wakefield last season and the club supported its ‘Three Saints’ annual charity bike ride.A group of hardy cyclists covered 280 miles to take in Southampton FC and Northampton RU before finally arriving home four days later at Langtree Park.World Autism Awareness Day (April 2) was also marked at the World of Glass by St. Helens Council who held a special event to highlight what it does in the community.It featured information, advice and examples of the work they do in schools, care services and partners in the voluntary and Community Sector.They then hosted a training event which was designed for professionals and individuals with Autism, as well as parents, carers and volunteers.last_img read more

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Senior softball league wraps up its 22nd season

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Wilmington Senior Softball Association is wrapping up its 22nd year with its season-ending tournament. The semifinals were held Tuesday and the finals are coming up on Thursday.The Atlantic Division which consists of players aged 55 to 66, played at Olsen Park, while Ogden Park was the site for the Coastal Division players who are 67 and older.- Advertisement – Each team in the WSSA plays a 60 game schedule from early April to early November.The league has brought these seniors together, all because of their love of the game.“I’ve been involved twenty years with this league and it’s such nice to meet and play ball and camaraderie with everybody. We all get together, we go out and eat, we have picnics for the whole league,” said Mike Abernathy, the WSSA’s commissioner.Related Article: New Hanover County HazWagon expands to Kure BeachAfter crowning a champion in each division Thursday, the association will hold its annual banquet on Friday where they will induct three new players into its Hall of Fame.last_img read more

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US House candidate Harris owes 34K to scrutinized consultant

first_img The Mark Harris campaign listed its debt to the Red Dome Group in a late Thursday filing with the Federal Election Commission. The form said the nature of the debt included “Reimbursement Payment for Bladen Absentee” and “Reimbursement Door to Door.”Bladen County’s absentee ballots are at the center of a fraud probe that has prompted the North Carolina Elections Board to refuse to certify Harris as the winner over Democrat Dan McCready. The board cited allegations of “irregularities and concerted fraudulent activities” involving mail-in ballots, and subpoenaed both the Harris campaign and Red Dome for documents.The board could order a new election after meeting later this month to consider the evidence. For now, the vote count remains unofficial, with Harris leading McCready by 905 votes.Related Article: Official: Virginia governor says he won’t resign over photoSome Bladen County voters have said strangers came to their homes to collect their absentee ballots, whether or not they had been fully completed or sealed in an envelope to keep them from being altered, according to affidavits offered by the state Democratic Party.State law allows only a family member or legal guardian to drop off absentee ballots for a voter.Red Dome hired Bladen County contractor McCrae Dowless, whose criminal record includes prison time in 1995 for felony fraud and a conviction for felony perjury in 1992.According to documents released by the elections board, Dowless seems to have collected the most absentee ballot request forms in Bladen County this fall. A copy of the Bladen election board’s log book shows Dowless turned in well over 500 applications.The FEC report also lists two other debts totaling nearly $20,000 to Red Dome for digital advertising, robocalls and mailings for Harris. The filing says those mailings were in Robeson County, another area where the state board has sought information as part of its probe. The details were part of a wide-ranging post-election report on the campaign’s finances.McCready, expressing outrage over what he called a shameful attack on democracy, withdrew his concession in a video released late Thursday. He’s demanding that Harris explain what he knows about the absentee ballot allegations.“He hired a criminal who was under investigation for ballot fraud to do his absentee ballot work, and it looks like he got what he paid for,” McCready told CNN on Friday.Harris didn’t respond to a message seeking comment late Thursday. He issued a statement last week saying he supports a voter fraud investigation, but that the race should be certified in the meantime because there didn’t appear to be enough questioned votes to erase his lead. His campaign lawyer said this week the organization wasn’t aware of any illegal conduct during the race.Dowless declined comment when visited by an Associated Press reporter this week at his home, and didn’t immediately respond to a phone message Friday. The head of the Red Dome Group, Andy Yates, also didn’t immediately respond to an email Friday. By JONATHAN DREW, Associated PressRALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Republican candidate in North Carolina’s unresolved congressional race has acknowledged owing $34,310 to a political consultant subpoenaed in a ballot fraud probe, according to a federal campaign filing that refers to work at the heart of the investigation.- Advertisement – last_img read more

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Police investigating two shootings in Wilmington

first_img(Photo: MGN Online) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Police are investigating two separate shootings that happened in Wilmington this morning.A Wilmington Police spokeswoman says the first shooting was shortly before 1:00 a.m. at 620 S. 13th Street.- Advertisement – When officers arrived a male was being placed in a car with a non-life-threatening gun shot wound.The second shooting involved three males at 11:45 a.m. on the 200 block of S. 13th Street.Police say one man shot the other two. The alleged shooter then ran off. The victims have been described as being in their mid-twenties.Related Article: Governor announces reward in soldier’s 2017 shooting deathThe two shooting victims were rushed to New Hanover Regional Medical Center with non-life-threatening wounds.At this time WPD does not believe the two incidents are related. Anyone with information should call (910) 343-3609 or use Text A Tip.last_img read more

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New Hanover County murderer granted parole

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A man convicted of murder in New Hanover County more than two decades ago has been granted parole.The North Carolina Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission announced today that Lester Islam will be released on parole on June 27, 2022. He will be released as part of the Mutual Agreement Parole Program (MAPP). MAPP is a scholastic and vocational program that is a three-way agreement between the commission, the Division of Prisons and the offender, according to a news release.- Advertisement – Islam, 49, has been in prison under a life sentence since his conviction for second-degree murder in May 1996.The state’s current structured sentencing law eliminates parole for crimes committed on or after October 1, 1994. However, the commission has the responsibility of paroling offenders who were sentenced under previous sentencing guidelines.According to the NC Department of Public Safety website, Islam committed the crime on Oct. 5, 1991.last_img read more

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Photos Forsaken transgender pioneers recognised 50 years after Stonewall

first_img LaLa Zannell, a New York-based transgender rights activist, poses outside The Stonewall Inn in New York, U.S., May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid 1 of 5 According to LGBTQ legend it was Marsha P. Johnson, a black transgender woman, who threw the first brick at the Stonewall Inn 50 years ago, sparking the modern gay liberation movement.Whether her act of rebellion was truly the first in the rioting is debatable, although she was “almost indubitably among the first to be violent,” writes David Carter in “Stonewall,” his 2004 book about the police raid on a New York gay bar that became a historic moment.What is certain about Johnson’s role, at least for today’s transgender community, is that the stone she cast packed the most thunder.Johnson, along with a fellow transgender woman Sylvia Rivera, who was of Puerto Rican and Venezuelan heritage, became inspirational leaders of the movement born in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, when lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other queer people fought back against harassment.The months after Stonewall were a time of LGBTQ unity that would not last long.Gay men, mostly white, assumed leadership and ostracised trans women like Johnson and Rivera in the name of respectability, according to people involved in the movement at the time.As the 50th anniversary of Stonewall approaches, Johnson and Rivera are receiving a belated measure of recognition in death that coincides with a growing awareness of transgender rights.New York City announced last month it would build a memorial to Johnson and Rivera near the Stonewall Inn, the Greenwich Village bar whose name has become synonymous with LGBTQ rights.“It is certainly sad that their memories were not only forgotten but desecrated in many instances, and now they are at least back in the conversation,” said Andrea Jenkins, a black transgender woman on the Minneapolis city council. “I’m still not sure if they are getting the absolute credit they deserve.”The announcement was made as New York prepares to welcome 4 million visitors for World Pride 50 years after Stonewall. The annual parade – the legacy of a march organised by Johnson, Rivera and others on the uprising’s first anniversary – is set for June 30.Last week, the New York Police Department apologised for the first time for the raid.Transgender advocates revere Johnson and Rivera for becoming the public faces of the most marginalized among LGBTQ people, for standing up to police harassment, and for insisting on respect.“They were so remarkably brave and had such an immediate and long-term impact,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, the largest U.S. trans advocacy group.The two have been memorialized in a 2017 documentary “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson.” Their names grace the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a New York advocacy providing legal services for trans people, and the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, which promotes transgender human rights.‘MAGICAL YEAR’In 1969, police raids on gay bars were routine, although Deputy Inspector Seymour Pine’s infamous raid on the Stonewall was mostly aimed at its Mafia owners, according to Carter’s book. It was a time when LGBTQ people were treated like criminals and generally acquiesced to harassment.The scene at the Stonewall Inn was different.An angry crowd gathered outside and began throwing coins, beer cans and bricks at the police, who barricaded themselves inside. The weaponry grew more menacing with the use of fuel-filled bottles and a parking meter used as a battering ram. It was an act of resistance that still reverberates.Soon after the rioting, Johnson and Rivera became active in the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and founded Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), the first known pro-transgender  group in the United States, providing shelter for the abandoned and homeless.But before long, the mainstream gay rights leaders dominated by white men lost patience with the political radicals of GLF, said Mark Segal, 68, a gay rights leader and GLF veteran who was in the Stonewall that night. Within a year, the Gay Activists Alliance formed, insisting on a more respectable image.“For that first whole, magical year, we were a united community across the board,” Segal said. “And that all went away once the Gay Activists Alliance was formed.”By the time of the fourth anniversary parade, organizers banned “drag queens,” so Johnson and Rivera marched in front of the parade banner, outside the official event. Rivera was booed when she took the stage in the rally at Washington Square Park.Rivera was known for being combative, according to people who knew her. She often chastised gay activists as willing to fight for their own rights but not for trans women who were beaten and raped in jail.Johnson was admired for her generosity and compassion. With her magnetic smile and over-the-top fashion sense, Johnson captured the eye of artist Andy Warhol, whose 1975 portrait forms part of his “Ladies and Gentlemen” series.“Marsha P. Johnson was a living saint,” said Randy Wicker,  81, a longtime gay activist who was roommates with both women at different times.Neither referred to herself very often as “transgender,” if at all, as the term was not yet common. Instead, terms such as “transvestite,” “drag queen” and “transsexual” were used interchangeably. But they lived almost exclusively as women, and transgender people today consider them two of their own.Johnson died at age 46 under mysterious circumstances, her body pulled from the Hudson River in 1992. Rivera, who had been homeless at times and suffered from addiction, died in 2002 of liver cancer at age 50.In the years since their deaths, a new understanding of gender identity has pushed its way into the mainstream. That has brought about a measure of reconciliation between transgender women and gay men, who have become a powerful coalition influencing policy on LGBTQ rights and fighting discrimination.Even so, some transgender women of colour say they still feel the sting of those old wounds, making them less inclined to celebrate the Stonewall anniversary. The work began by Johnson and Rivera is far from complete, they say.“There is still a divide,” said LaLa Zannell, a New York-based transgender rights activist. “We moved forward 50 years and where has the T really evolved? We’re still homeless. We still can’t get jobs. We’re still marginalized.”WhatsApp LaLa Zannell, a New York-based transgender rights activist, speaks during an interview outside The Stonewall Inn in New York, U.S., May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid FILE PHOTO: Rainbow flags wave in the wind at the Stonewall National Monument outside the Stonewall Inn, site of the1969 Stonewall uprising, considered the birth of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement in Greenwich Village in New York City, June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Mike SegarFILE PHOTO: Rainbow flags wave in the wind at the Stonewall National Monument outside the Stonewall Inn, site of the1969 Stonewall uprising, considered the birth of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement in Greenwich Village in New York City, June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar LaLa Zannell, a New York-based transgender rights activist, poses outside The Stonewall Inn in New York, U.S., May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermidcenter_img LaLa Zannell, a New York-based transgender rights activist, speaks to schoolchildren outside The Stonewall Inn in New York, U.S., May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid FILE PHOTO: American artist George Segal’s sculpture “Gay Liberation” is seen inside the Stonewall National Monument outside the Stonewall Inn, site of the1969 Stonewall uprising, considered the birth of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement in Greenwich Village in New York City, June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar SharePrint <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>last_img read more

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Pirate Bay cofounder Peter Sunde released from prison

first_imgAdvertisement Just days after the arrest of Fredrik Neij, Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde has been released from prison.He spent only five months behind bars rather than the originally intended eight, albeit in a high security wing.It’ll be a short while before we know exactly what he does next. However, media executives probably won’t have reason to panic any time soon. – Advertisement – Before his arrest, he was pouring most of his energy into legal services like encrypted chat (Heml.is) and micro donations (Flattr) before the police caught him, and it’s likely that he’ll pick up where he left offSource: Engadgetlast_img

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WhatsApp voicecalling feature starts rolling out to select users its on an

first_imgAdvertisement The free voice calling feature on WhatsApp has finally been rolled out to a few users India which appears to be available on invite-only basis, as of now.The invite-only basis basically means that users will get a call through WhatsApp from someone who already has the feature updated. The feature is also restricted to Android only and you will need the updated 2.11.508 version to access the app. – Advertisement – According to the images posted, users who receive the voice-calling feature will notice an icon for it, beside the Chats and Contacts tabs. The call interface seems to quite similar to a smartphone’s contact directory. The app keeps a record of recent WhatsApp calls as well.Last month, WhatsApp released WhatsApp for Web users which simply mirrors whats’s on your smartphone to the screen. WhatsApp for web is currently available through the Google Chrome browser and also supports Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone. However iOS users can’t access WhatsApp for web.WhatsApp, recently revealed that the app has 700 million monthly active users and that over 30 billion messages are shared on WhatsApp everyday. With voice-calling feature coming soon, it’s likely that WhatsApp’s engagement number will rise further.Via FirstPostlast_img read more

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Microsoft offers first major endorsement of new EUUS data pact

first_imgImage Credit: thelasttechiedotcom Advertisement Microsoft became on Monday the first major U.S. tech company to say it would transfer users’ information to the United States using a new transatlantic commercial data pact and would resolve any disputes with European privacy watchdogs.Data transfers to the United States have been conducted in a legal limbo since October last year when the European Union’s top court struck down the Safe Harbour framework that allowed firms to easily move personal data across the Atlantic in compliance with strict EU data transferral rules.EU data protection law bars companies from transferring personal data to countries deemed to have insufficient privacy safeguards, of which the United States is one, unless they set up complex legal structures or use a framework like Safe Harbour. – Advertisement – Microsoft said it would sign up to the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, the new framework that was agreed by Brussels and Washington in February to fill the void left by Safe Harbour and ensure the $260 billion (about 871 trillion UGX) in digital services trade across the Atlantic continues smoothly.“I’m pleased to announce today that Microsoft pledges to sign up for the Privacy Shield, and we will put in place new commitments to advance privacy as this instrument is implemented,” John Frank, Vice President of EU Government Affairs, wrote in a blog.The U.S. company’s endorsement of the Privacy Shield comes amidst criticism of it by privacy groups for failing to address concerns about U.S. surveillance practices and one day before EU data protection regulators sit down for a two-day meeting on whether to endorse it themselves.Revelations by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden of mass U.S. government surveillance program sparked outrage in Europe and set in motion the legal challenge that eventually led to the quashing of Safe Harbour.The European Commission, which negotiated the framework on behalf of the EU, has urged companies to comply with decisions from the 28-member bloc’s data protection authorities in disputes to help the Privacy Shield survive an expected future court challenge.[related-posts]Companies transferring human resources data will have to submit to the jurisdiction of European regulators, but for other companies it will merely be voluntary. The main enforcers of the framework will be the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.The European Commission welcomed Microsoft’s announcement, noting that EU individuals were more likely to turn to their national regulator to complain about the handling of their data.“We welcome the fact that companies already commit to using the Privacy Shield and complying with its obligations,” said Christian Wigand, a Commission spokesman.[Reuters]last_img read more

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The internet will shut down for 24 hours in 2017 causing financial

first_imgAdvertisement Millions of computer users across the world could be blocked from the internet this year as the global network will shut down for 24 hours, US technology security vendor LogRhythm predicted in December.The company’s chief information security officer and vice president James Carder told Business Insider, it won’t just be a technical issue stopping people from uploading their selfies on Instagram.“In 2017, we’re going to see it hit big sometime, somewhere. If the internet goes down, financial markets will tank,” he said. – Advertisement – According to Carder, there were all the signs in 2016, with criminals “testing missiles by shooting them into the ocean.”“We saw the massive DDoS [distributed denial of service] attack against DynDNS just a couple of months ago. That DDoS attack took down sites like Twitter and Spotify for a few hours. We saw a similar DDoS hit Brian Krebs before the attack against Dyn. These were really just tests,” he said.In October a mass cyber-attack crippled some of the world’s biggest websites with users unable to access Twitter, SoundCloud, Spotify and many others for over two hours.“If you can prove that you can take down massive sites and a large chunk of the US internet for a few hours, a 24-hour outage seems pretty easy to do?” said Carder.The head of LogRhythm also said the issue of “fake news” will only get worse this year, with hackers targeting major media sites.“The power of influence is starting to shift away from mainstream news outlets, and I don’t think that is something those mainstream outlets can afford to let happen. They will respond to the fake news threat by trying to implement some level of media control that will likely take it a little too far,” he said.“I think hackers, in the name of protecting our freedom of speech, will retaliate by knocking down a major media outlet or two.”LogRhythm’s Australia and New Zealand director of sales Simon Howe has predicted that ransomware on mobile devices will become far more prevalent in 2017.According to him, attackers will target unsuspecting smartphone users and hold their personal data hostage to extort money.“For example, attackers will threaten to send out or delete a user’s photos unless a ransom is paid. Just think — how much you would pay to recover your photos?” said Howe.He added that attackers will use pre-authenticated tokens to disseminate malware.“Because so many Apple devices are interconnected, the malware could very quickly spread,” he said.source: RTlast_img read more

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STARTERS ORDERS Monday

first_imgWhat’s your view?CALL STAR SPORTS ON 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.Monday 22 JuneRACING2.00 ChepstowBallynanty 6/1 > 2/15.15 ChepstowLucky Clover 11/4 > 15/85.30 WolverhamptonWestern Playboy 13/2 > 7/26.30 WindsorHarry Champion 9/4 > 6/48.50 WetherbyRed Charmer 5/2 > 13/89.20 WetherbyChristmas Lights 15/2 > 9/2(All prices subject to fluctuation)last_img

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STAR SPECIALS House prices to take a tumble

first_imgStar Sport expects fall in UK house prices, in response to Halifax Price Index UpdateThursday 4th February 2016:Star Sports have unleashed betting on the UK housing market which make average property prices odds-on to fall in 2016 at 8/11.Jamie Loughead, Head of Politics at Star Sports, comments:Despite the optimism in a number of high profile house price predictions, we see a number of factors likely to impact on values this year. Buy-to-let stamp duty, weakening overseas investor interest and a Bank of England interest rate rise will all help to drive prices down. We expect London prices to fall more quickly, as the market is so closely linked to global economic conditions – in fact, we’re so certain we’ve suspended all betting on property prices dropping in the capital!House PricesUK average house prices to decrease in 2016 8/11UK average house prices to increase in 2016 11/10UK Average House Prices in 2016Decrease by up to 4.99% 5/4Increase by up to 4.99% 13/8Decrease by 5% or more 5/1Increase by 5% or more 6/1Settlement based on Nationwide Price Index Updates, which on 04/02/16 stated UK average house price as being £196,829. Increases/decreases calculated based on difference between £196,829 and Nationwide Price Index Update average in December 2016. Star Sports decision is final.last_img read more

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STARTERS ORDERS Monday

first_imgWhat’s your view?CALL STAR SPORTS ON 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.Monday 6 June RACING MOVERS2.15 BrightonRoman Legion 8/1 > 9/22.30 AyrGlengarry 11/8 > 10/113.50 ListowelSea Light 9/2 > 5/26.45 PontefractTeofonic 9/4 > 13/89.00 WindsorSilken Skies 100/30 > 5/2(All prices subject to fluctuation)last_img

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